Pennsylvania state Senators Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, both Allegheny County Democrats, are calling for Pittsburgh’s Intergovernmental Cooperative Authority board to immediately dismiss Executive Director Henry Sciortino, in the wake of a criminal investigation.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday that Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has opened a criminal investigation into the financial oversight board.
The senators said Sciortino should be removed for destroying financial records. According to a Trib report, more than 90 percent of the ICA’s spending records have been replaced or destroyed.
Costa said the lack of financial oversight is disturbing.
“We think it’s appropriate to have somebody interim there to work along those lines to help facilitate that immediate review and that forensic audit that needs to be done to determine exactly what happened and whether or not resources were expended beyond what was legally permitted,” he said.
Sciortino was appointed the sole employee of the financial oversight authority in 2004. His tenure surpasses all board members – three of whom were appointed in March.
The ICA has control of the gambling tax revenue allocated to Pittsburgh. The city is suing the ICA, saying that money is being withheld illegally. Costa and Fontana are calling for an in-depth audit from the Auditor General to determine the amount the city is owed and the fund balance.
“We think it’s appropriate to determine what exactly has been done with respect to the resources that have come from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over the course of the past … 11 years," Costa said.
In addition to Zappala, the senators are asking the attorney general to conduct a criminal investigation, as well.
The senators said they will also propose to amend the legislation that created the ICA to include record keeping that meets the same standards as other state agencies. Costa said they will propose the authority retain most financial information for at least four years and all tax, payroll and audit information for at least seven years.