PITTSBURGH Mayor Luke Ravenstahl fired Police Chief Nate Harper yesterday after an FBI raid on records of the Greater Pittsburgh Police FCU last week turned up financial improprieties in the police department’s accounts.
Investigators discovered that thousands of dollars from several police credit union accounts opened by the chief’s office paid for hotel rooms, food and trips. Money from the accounts might also have paid for condominium rentals for the chief and others during the Group of 20 economic summit in 2009.
The accounts were unearthed last week, when the FBI carted away boxes of records from both the credit union and police headquarters. The credit union provided the records in response to a subpoena, and is not involved in any way with the alleged acts of financial improprieties.
Credit union documents show hotel room charges of more than $2,500, air travel to Chicago, and dining charges, some as far away as the Palm restaurant in Denver, according to reports. The money apparently was moved from special events accounts at the police department into the credit union account.
The mayor’s office released a statement saying it is aware of the accounts at the credit union, some of which were opened in 2004. The office is now investigating how the funds in those accounts were used, and by whom.
The FBI is looking at a number of special events checks which should have been deposited into the City of Pittsburgh account, but somehow ended up in the credit union account.