Former Ravenstahl bodyguard: ‘I'm going to spill my guts'

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PITTSBURGH - A former bodyguard of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he plans to talk to federal agents investigating city matters.

Retired Detective Fred Crawford of Morningside confirmed on Wednesday that he returned to Pittsburgh a little more than a week ago after spending several months in Afghanistan working as a security consultant.

He declined to answer specific questions but said he would meet with attorneys Robert Stewart and Kevin Zinski, and plans to speak with the FBI.

Federal agents have been investigating accounts connected to the police department and talking to those in Ravenstahl's inner circle.

“I'm going to spill my guts,” Crawford said.

Ravenstahl spokeswoman Marissa Doyle wouldn't comment.

Ravenstahl has denied previous accusations by Crawford that the mayor knew about a secret account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union and wanted his bodyguards to use credit union debit cards to shield travel, meal and lodging expenses from news media scrutiny under the state's Right to Know law.

During a news conference earlier this year, Ravenstahl said, “I don't know if there's any legal action I’m going to take, but I'd like to jam him up.”

Former police Chief Nate Harper, 60, of Stanton Heights resigned at Ravenstahl's request in February. A grand jury in March indicted Harper on charges he tapped a police slush fund at the credit union for at least $30,000 in personal expenses and failed to pay income taxes for four years.

Money that businesses paid to the city to hire off-duty police officers fueled the credit union account. The money was supposed to cover the costs of defending lawsuits or replacing uniforms and other equipment damaged in the course of officers' moonlighting activities.

Sgt. Dominick Sciulli, the mayor's primary bodyguard, and Sgt. Matthew Gauntner, a former bodyguard, met with grand jurors and prosecutors who headed the investigation of Harper in May.

Sciulli used a debit card from the fund to pay for hotel stays and gas purchases during trips with the mayor. The account statement, released by the mayor's office, shows 15 charges between Jan. 22, 2009, and Nov. 11, 2011, totaling $1,812.

Several police administrators had debit cards tied to the account. Records show that Gauntner never used his card.

 

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.