Ex-Pittsburgh employee appears before grand jury

Police radio contract being investigated

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A former Pittsburgh city employee who admitted to rigging a bid for a city contract awarded to a former friend of police Chief Nate Harper appeared Wednesday before a federal grand jury investigating the deal.

Christine Ann Kebr, 56, of Castle Shannon spent about a half-hour in the federal courthouse, where the grand jury had convened. She and her attorney, Gary Gerson, declined comment as they left.

Ms. Kebr pleaded guilty to conspiracy last month and faces an April 4 sentencing after she admitted to taking two bribes worth $6,000 and steering a $327,000 police radio and computer installation contract to Alpha Outfitters, a company connected to Chief Harper's former friend, Art Bedway, 63, of Robinson. Mr. Bedway has pleaded not guilty to related charges of mail fraud, bribery and conspiracy. Court records show prosecutors and his attorney are "in discussions regarding a potential plea agreement."

Mr. Bedway, his wife, Colleen Bedway, and Pittsburgh police Sgt. Gordon J. McDaniel, who oversees the bureau's vehicles, all testified before the grand jury on Tuesday. The Bedways have not commented. Sgt. McDaniel said, "I am not involved. I was just called as a witness," and referred questions to a police spokeswoman. Spokeswomen for the city and the police department have declined comment.

Alpha Outfitters was created in July 2006. Chief Harper was promoted from assistant chief in October 2006.

Prosecutors have said that Mr. Bedway, Ms. Kebr and an unidentified third person met around Oct. 27, 2006, to talk about Alpha Outfitters. They wrote in a criminal information that Mr. Bedway and Ms. Kebr met at Victory Security's office and outlined Alpha Outfitters' bid for the city contract, and that Ms. Kebr then engineered the city's process to make sure Alpha Outfitters received the contract.

Chief Harper's wife, retired city police officer Cynthia Harper, worked as a consultant for Carnegie-based Victory Security for an undisclosed amount of time.

neigh_city - legalnews

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 and on Twitter: @liznavratil.


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