Lincoln Place ex-PTA president faces trial

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A former Pittsburgh Mifflin PreK-8 parent-teacher association president accused of using anti-bullying program money for personal expenses will stand trial on felony theft charges.

Lutual Love, 64, was charged July 22 with two counts of theft by unlawful taking and a count of access device fraud after an investigator with the Allegheny County district attorney's office found he misappropriated $8,520.79 from a Heinz Endowment grant.

He was held for court on all three counts at a preliminary hearing Friday morning, court records show. Defense attorney Almon Stith Burke Jr. did not return messages Friday afternoon.

Detective Jackelyn Weibel wrote in a criminal complaint that Mr. Love "misused his trusted volunteer position within Mifflin School to use moneys for his personal benefit that were supposed to be used to benefit the children of Mifflin School."

Prosecutors said Mr. Love mixed his personal money and Propel Foundation funds in an account that held the $31,670 Heinz grant for the anti-bullying program. According to the complaint, he withdrew cash from that PNC account, once at Rivers Casino, and used money for personal expenses at dry cleaners, Lowes, Petco, and elsewhere.

A Propel official said checks were for work Mifflin PTA volunteers did for Propel, including coordination of buses and distribution of Propel charter schools, according to the complaint. Mr. Love, as PTA president, facilitated the work, the complaint says, but the checks were intended to go to the PTA.

Twice, when "the account balance became negative due to his personal spending," Mr. Love diverted two checks from Propel that were supposed to be deposited into the Mifflin PTA general account, prosecutors said.

Mr. Love ran the anti-bullying program at Mifflin, in Lincoln Place, and earlier this year was a volunteer as a school ambassador for A+ Schools, for the Hazelwood African-American Forum, and for the anti-bullying advocacy group Bully Police USA.

He had stepped down as an officer in the Mifflin PTA but remains a member, Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said.

Mr. Love also has had legal trouble before.

He had misdemeanor convictions for drug and drug paraphernalia possession in 2002 and drug possession in 1997. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 1960s.

In April, a group of parents, outraged that someone with a criminal record was working with children, met with district officials and school board members.

Superintendent Linda Lane said at that meeting that Mr. Love has clearances to work with children despite his criminal record. While some offenses preclude volunteering in schools, his do not, she said then.

education - neigh_city

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.


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