Ravenstahl, aides keep mum as rumors swirl about mayoral campaign
Sgt. Dom Sciulli, one of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's bodyguards, walks through the mayor's office Thursday in the City-County Building, Downtown.
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A day after one of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's confidants hinted that the mayor was in the midst of a personal crisis and to expect an announcement soon, both Mr. Ravenstahl and his aides remained mum, even as media camped outside of his office for hours Thursday.
Wednesday night, Kevin Quigley, Mr. Ravenstahl's longtime friend and an assistant director of public works, told a group of people assembled for a candidate's night at Perry Traditional Academy that the mayor was grappling with "personal issues" and that the mayor would hold a news conference "in the next couple of days."
"I will just ask everyone to reserve judgment and let the mayor come out and explain exactly what the issues are at that time," he told the audience Wednesday evening. Mr. Ravenstahl's campaign manager said he missed an event Tuesday because his mother was ill.
But while the mayor's staff remained silent, sources within the mayor's inner circle said he was weighing whether to drop his bid for re-election, just 10 days after he launched the campaign.
Mr. Quigley's announcement, paired with conspicuous absences in recent days from public and campaign events, stirred speculation about what Mr. Ravenstahl would announce.
Throughout the day, members of his staff were seen coming and going at his office on the fifth floor of the City-County Building. City solicitor Dan Regan, chief of staff Yarone Zober and government affairs manager Paul McKrell all passed through the doors that lead to his office at various points in the day.
Public safety director Mike Huss briskly crossed through the hallway in front of the administration's wing of the building twice and was mobbed by media, but he said nothing.
Around 4 p.m., Mr. Ravenstahl was spotted leaving his office with Mr. Huss. He took an alternate exit away from the main bank of elevators, avoiding the gantlet of media that awaited him.
With a bevy of cameras trained on the mayor's door, Mr. Zober, keenly aware he was being watched, walked into the office carrying a guitar. Seconds later, he reappeared with a checkered flag.
In the evening, two of the mayor's aides delivered pizza to the media, but refused to say anything about the mayor's whereabouts or whether a news conference was imminent. By 7 p.m., the lights in the office had darkened.
Some members of city council, too, remained in the dark. Councilwoman Darlene Harris, whose office sits in the opposite wing of the building, walked over in the morning to talk to the mayor about issues concerning council. She said she was told the mayor was not in and that Mr. Zober would call her. She said she had not heard from Mr. Zober by the end of the day.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said she went to the mayor's office, but said it was to meet with a constituent. She declined to comment.
Controller Michael Lamb, who is challenging the mayor's re-election bid, declined to comment on the mystery until the mayor did.
But at a meeting at the 16th Ward, he said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the Ravenstahl family, whatever it is they're dealing with.
"I'm sure we're going to find out tomorrow."
First Published March 1, 2013 12:00 am