At least one subpoena served on Pittsburgh in recent weeks sought parking variance documents

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Over the past several weeks, a federal grand jury has served multiple subpoenas upon the City of Pittsburgh for administrative records, including at least one for police records related to parking variances, city officials said today.

City Solicitor Daniel Regan would not reveal what records were sought or which city department or departments maintained them.

Acting police Chief Regina McDonald, however, confirmed this afternoon that one subpoena served last week sought "all variances as issued to public or private entities (vendors) for the purpose of securing parking spaces within the City of Pittsburgh" for Jan. 1, 2008 to present.

Also included in the request, Chief McDonald said, was any related correspondence.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police handles requests for parking variances, fields complaints and coordinates enforcement.

In a separate development this morning, two men, one in a Pittsburgh police T-shirt, wheeled a pile of boxes -- including at least one labeled "Parking Variances" -- into the grand jury room in the federal courthouse on Grant Street, Downtown.

The men then turned around promptly and wheeled the boxes back out, saying, "Oh, these belong on four?"

The U.S. Attorney's Office is on the fourth floor of the building.

Mr. Regan refused to provide details about the subpoenas including how many have been served, when they were served, which departments they targeted, what records were sought and in what format they were turned over to authorities.

"We received requests for additional documents," Mr. Regan said. "As we have throughout the course of the investigation we've complied, and we're going to continue to comply with any request. The requests were for documents that were administrative in nature."

Federal investigators served a subpoena on the city in February and took boxes of records from police headquarters on the North Side.

Police officials at the time said those records were connected to an investigation into the suspected misappropriation of funds flowing from private employers to the police bureau as payment for off-duty work by officers.

Former police chief Nate Harper has been charged with not filing federal income tax returns and conspiracy in connection to accusations that he and others skimmed about $70,000 from those city funds.

His attorneys have said that Mr. Harper intends to plead guilty.

A federal grand jury has been investigating a contract awarded to a company linked to Robinson entrepreneur Art Bedway, a former friend of Mr. Harper.

One former city employee, who admitted to accepting $6,000 in bribes in connection with the contract for Alpha Outfitters to install and maintain police radios, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in connection with bid-rigging.

Mr. Harper's onetime friend, Art Bedway, has pleaded not guilty to several federal charges in connection with the contract.

In the past few months questions have arisen over the police bureau's approval of parking variances following complaints about valet practices in Market Square.

Proprietors there, as well as city Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, have described customers carping about certain aspects of valet service.

A bill sponsored by Mr. Lavelle to impose stricter regulations on valet parking operators doing business in Pittsburgh passed this morning.

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