On Wednesday, seeking banking records, internal financial documents, and computer equipment; detectives from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office raided the Downtown headquarters of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) the state agency that oversees Pittsburgh‘s finances.
Search warrants were served on both the Pittsburgh ICA office at One Market Street, as well as banking giant PNC, the provider of checking services to ICA. The search warrants indicate that ICA Executive Director Henry Sciortino is the apparent target of a white-collar crime criminal investigation, which includes tampering with records or identification; obstructing the administration of law; misapplication of entrusted property that belongs to a government or financial institution; and not filing financial interest statements with the State Ethics Commission, according to the Tribune-Review.
A unanimous vote on Friday by the ICA board’s five voting members decided to end the ICA executive director’s month-to-month contract on May 31. Sciortino is paid $12,000 per month.
In litigation with ICA, the city is seeking the release of what is soon to be $20 million gambling revenues from Rivers Casino, that while earmarked for the city, have been withheld by ICA in an ongoing legal battle.
In June 2105, Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto threatened to take legal action against ICA, demanding that the agency release $11.4 million in gambling money by the next month. At that time, Paul Leger, the City Finance Director accused the ICA of withholding money illegally since 2014, which has been detrimental to the city’s ability to make debt and pension payments.
Due to Pittsburgh’s host status, each year the state gives the city a minimum of $10 million from casino gambling proceeds. Under state law, the release of that money is controlled by the ICA. According to Pennsylvania’s gambling law, Pittsburgh is able to use the money for employee pension payouts, and debt service, as well as for other uses that are considered to be in the interest of the city by the ICA. Apparently, the ICA was withholding the money until the city created an in-house electronic system able to track employee payroll.