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State Ethics Commission Completes Investigation Of Pittsburgh Schools Superintendent

Sarah Schneider
90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet in 2016.

A two-year investigation to determine if Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet violated state ethics laws by failing to file required financial statements has been completed.

City Controller Michael Lamb, who initiated the investigation by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, confirmed Wednesday that it has concluded, but he said he did not have any further information about its findings. Hamlet has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Lamb, who has auditing authority of the district, said in 2019 that he filed the complaint with the commission after he received multiple tips of “conflicts of interest.” Lamb found that Hamlet failed to file documents in 2017 and 2018 to disclose income sources and costs associated with transportation and lodging.

That investigation launched shortly after the school district hired its own investigator to vet claims that Hamlet and other district administrators took an all-expenses-paid trip to Cuba that was not authorized by the board. Board president Lynda Wrenn did approve a trip to Florida but said she didn’t know there would be a side trip to Cuba. The full board must approve international trips.

While the nonprofit organization The Flying Classroom paid for the trip, the district's investigation cost nearly $142,000 according to WPXI. Board members wouldn’t comment when that investigation concluded, saying only that it was a personnel matter that had been resolved. The report from the third-party investigator was not made public.

A few months later, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office found that district travel costs had nearly tripled under Hamlet. DePasquale said he launched his own investigation after learning of the Cuba trip.

DePasquale’s report found “little or no justification” for the increased spending. District spokesperson Ebony Pugh said at the time that the increased spending was a strategic move.

Sarah Schneider is WESA's education reporter. From early learning to higher education, Sarah is interested in students and educators working to create more equitable systems. Sarah previously worked with news outlets in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she worked for the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.
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