Ravenstahl to appear today before ethics panel

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Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will tell the city Ethics Hearing Board today why he believes he didn't violate the city's ethics policy when he participated in a charity golf outing as the guest of two organizations that do business with the city.

Mr. Ravenstahl is believed to be the first elected official called before the panel, which heard its first case last month after being dormant for years.

The five-member board wants him to explain his participation in the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational golf tournament June 27-28.

Mr. Ravenstahl played golf both days at the tournament, one day as a guest of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the other as a guest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The question is whether Mr. Ravenstahl violated the city's ethics policy by allowing the organizations to pay his $9,000 entry fee, especially since the city does business with each of them.

The ethics board is reviewing whether the mayor violated the city code, which bans officials from accepting gifts. Mr. Ravenstahl has said his actions didn't violate the code because it contains an exception for charitable events.

The ethics board was created in 1991, and members at that time wrote the city's ethics code but never heard any complaints. It was reactivated last year by the late Mayor Bob O'Connor and has been meeting regularly since May.

Last month the board heard its first complaint, ruling that city employees on the Redd Up campaign violated the ethics policy by wearing T-shirts supporting a city councilman's re-election.

The panel is chaired by Sister Patrice Hughes and includes two members appointed by the mayor's office and three chosen by the mayor from a list of nine candidates submitted by city council.

The board is not expected to make an immediate decision on the issue of Mr. Ravenstahl.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers, fifth floor, City-County Building, Downtown.

Ed Blazina can be reached at eblazina@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1470.


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