Ex-city employee pleads guilty to rigging contract

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A former city of Pittsburgh employee accused of working with a local entrepreneur to rig a city contracting process pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy.

Christine Ann Kebr, 55, of Castle Shannon worked for the city's computer information systems department, earning $60,591 a year. In 2006 and 2007, the department was managing the process of choosing a vendor to install new radios in police cars.

Ms. Kebr is accused of meeting repeatedly with Art Bedway, a Robinson entrepreneur who controlled Carnegie-based Victory Security and created Alpha Outfitters. She worked with him and an unnamed partner to craft the city's request for proposals to install radios. Then she administered the contracting process for the city, which ended with an award of the pact to Alpha Outfitters.

The city eventually paid Alpha Outfitters $327,000 to install the radios, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar said at Ms. Kebr's plea hearing. During the course of the contract, he said, Ms. Kebr received two $3,000 bribes.

Ms. Kebr had no substantial comments during the hearing, and she and her attorney, Gary Gerson, declined comment afterward. U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon scheduled sentencing for April 4.

Mr. Bedway, 63, has pleaded not guilty to a seven-count indictment against him. His attorney, Martin Dietz, declined comment.

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