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Beauty academy president faces arrest

| Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003

Pittsburgh Beauty Academy President Arthur B. DeConciliis Sr. has added another problem to his growing stack of troubles: he's now a wanted man.

DeConciliis failed to appear at a preliminary hearing Friday morning before District Justice Mark Mansour, of Hempfield Township, on charges he issued a bad check to a former instructor from the now-closed Greensburg school.

"An arrest warrant has been issued," Assistant District Attorney Jim Hopson said nearly an hour after DeConciliis failed to appear for the 9:30 a.m. hearing.

Former instructor Tammie Lee Garris, who filed a criminal complaint against DeConciliis for issuing her a bad payroll check for $1,100, was stunned he didn't attend the hearing.

"Of course, I'm not real happy. I just can't believe he didn't show up for $1,100," she said outside the courtroom. "Now it's going to cost him a lot more to hire a lawyer because they're going to arrest him."

Garris, along with her father, Paul Henry, traveled from Homer City, Indiana County, for the hearing. Chris Fenner, of Connellsville, another former instructor who said he received one of the last valid paychecks issued by DeConciliis, was present as a witness for Garris. He is now employed at another salon.

Garris served as an instructor at Pittsburgh Beauty Academy's Greensburg school for four years and is now an instructor for Empire Beauty Academy in Monroeville.

In addition to her $1,100 paycheck from Pittsburgh Beauty Academy, Garris lost money for missing work for Friday's hearing.

"I took the day off," she said. "Now I have to take another day off for another hearing."

She said she also owes her parents a great deal of money for supporting her between her jobs.

Garris also had hoped to recoup some $600 she is owed in vacation pay, but will have to pursue reimbursement for that money in civil court.

The Greensburg staff was the first group from the academy's four schools that walked off the job April 23 after not being paid since April 8.

Schools in Charleroi and New Kensington also have closed their doors because the staff had not been paid. Some staffers at the main campus in Pittsburgh have not returned to work.

A second Greensburg employee has filed a criminal complaint against DeConciliis for issuing a bad check. The request is under review by the Westmoreland County District Attorney's Office.

Attempts were made to contact DeConciliis at his office in the Pittsburgh school, but an automated answering machine said the voice mailbox was full, then disconnected the call.

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