Investigators have been provided with copies of documents related to improvements at Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's home, according to a defense attorney who said Tuesday that the contractor isn't providing free work.
"Rumors of work being done for free are not true," said Charles Porter Jr., the attorney representing the mayor privately in relation to the ongoing federal probe of city dealings.
The work is governed by a contract and backed by an initial payment by the mayor of around $12,000, with the balance due upon completion, Mr. Porter said.
"That contract was provided to the government," he said. "A copy of the check has been provided to the government."
On Friday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Allstate Development applied in August for a building permit to work on a Fineview home that, three days later, was deeded to the mayor for $110,000. The president of Allstate, William J. Rogers, of New Homestead, also owns R&B Contracting and Excavation, which has been paid $2.2 million by the city for work done since 2010.
Mr. Rogers has declined to say whether federal investigators have contacted him.
The initial building permit application indicated anticipated costs of $8,500, but the Post-Gazette has learned that amendments boosted the estimate to $14,500.
Ethics experts have said there is no problem with the mayor hiring for private work a company tied to a firm that also does city work -- as long as the mayor pays regular price for the work.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton would not comment Tuesday on the investigation.
His office has, in six months, indicted Robinson entrepreneur Art Bedway on seven charges related to a city contract; charged former city systems analyst Christine Kebr with conspiracy in relation to that contract; indicted former police Chief Nate Harper on charges including conspiracy in relation to more than $30,000 in allegedly misdirected city funds; and brought before a grand jury the mayor's security officers and his senior administrator.
Mr. Bedway has pleaded not guilty. Ms. Kebr has pleaded guilty. Mr. Harper has pleaded not guilty, but his attorney have said he intends to plead guilty.
Rich Lord: email@example.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord. First Published May 14, 2013 4:00 AM