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New Kensington officials plan no action against police chief

| Friday, June 12, 2009

City officials will not reveal the findings of an investigation of police Chief Chuck Korman, but say the inquiry found no reason to discipline him.

A former officer, Tony Veltri, brought allegations of wrongdoing against Korman including that the chief was seen driving an unmarked police car bearing regular registration plates instead of municipal plates.

The city paid $5,600 to an attorney to conduct the investigation.

Officials said the allegations were unfounded, but refused to make the report public. They contend that it was not part of the public record under the state Right to Know Law because it was not part of a criminal investigation.

Asked for his response to the investigation's outcome, Korman said Thursday that it turned out "exactly as I thought it would."

"The allegations were false from the outset," he said. "I cooperated fully with the investigator. The outcome is what I thought it would be."

Councilmen John Regoli Jr., Tom Guzzo and Todd Mentecki each said they were not interviewed for the probe. They would not say or said they did not know who was interviewed.

"There was absolutely nothing that turned up in that report to warrant any type of disciplinary action or even a verbal reprimand," Regoli said. "Accusations were made and they warranted investigation. At the end of the day, a lot of people who may have been the source of rumors and innuendo did not give any indication (to the investigator) of anything inappropriate happening.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's a dead issue."

Mentecki said the allegations were unfounded, and that he does not believe any other actions or investigation is necessary.

"Because it's a personal issue, I can't comment," he said.

Guzzo said that after reading the report, the allegations were unsubstantiated.

"I believe there will be no further investigation by the city," Guzzo said.

Guzzo and Mentecki would not discuss the issue of the license plate. Regoli did.

"The undercover vehicle plates are changed occasionally. Our solicitor and city clerk advised us taking that matter (the license plate use) further would not have been financially responsible," he said.

Regoli said enough money had been spent on the investigation, and that he's satisfied with the outcome. He said he is not interested in spending more money to continue looking into what he said have turned out to be unfounded allegations.

"There will be a new administration in January," he said, "and it's my hope I'll have more input and oversight in the police department, understanding that the police department answers to the mayor."

Guzzo, who is running unopposed for mayor, believes a lot of the ongoing police-related problems will be resolved when he becomes mayor next year since he has no past history with the department.

"There won't be this baggage with the police department," he said. "We sort of are starting off fresh."

Mayor Frank Link and Councilman Doug Aftanas did not return calls for comment.

Guzzo and Regoli said they are under the impression that Korman will be accepting a new position by the end of the year, but said they have not received an official announcement from him.

Korman would not comment Thursday on his plans, which he said are, for now, none of the councilmen's business.

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