FBI seizes documents from Pittsburgh police



PITTSBURGH - FBI agents on Tuesday removed employment and training records from Pittsburgh police headquarters on the North Side, city officials said.

Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson said between four and six FBI agents went to the special events and personnel and finance offices and took records involving secondary employment, training and travel. The special events office oversees officers working in uniform while off duty.

City Solicitor Daniel Regan said the U.S. Attorney's office subpoenaed him Monday for police bureau records. He described the records as “administrative in nature,” but said he could not specify what the grand jury subpoena sought.

Seven people carrying nine boxes walked out of headquarters at 5:15 p.m. They declined comment as they loaded boxes into vehicles and drove away.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether police Chief Nate Harper, 60, was involved in awarding a contract to a shell company set up by his one-time friend Art Bedway, 63, of Robinson.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week asked for an outside review of the police bureau's policies on officers holding secondary jobs because of concerns over a business Harper set up with four subordinates.

Harper acknowledged the FBI search through spokeswoman Diane Richard but declined comment.

“I think this is hopefully the beginning of the end,” Donaldson said. “An outside agency comes in and looks at our workings, and we can go back to normal.”

Regan said the city agreed to have police personnel meet with FBI agents and assist them in gathering the records.

“We discussed this with them and we agreed that the most efficient and effective way to comply with the subpoena would be to have representatives of the police bureau meet with them and provide them with the records,” Regan said. “That's what happened. We complied with the subpoena.”

The federal investigation into Harper became public in January and centers on Bedway, owner of Carnegie-based Victory Security. Federal authorities in November accused Bedway of conspiring with a former city employee and unidentified others to set up Alpha Outfitters to win a contract to install computers in police vehicles.

Harper initially said the police bureau “had no involvement in securing this contract or making any payments.”

The city paid more than $327,000 to Alpha Outfitters between 2007 and 2009 for work done on police vehicles.

Christine Kebr, 56, of Castle Shannon, a former senior systems analyst for the city, pleaded guilty on Dec. 6 to conspiring with Bedway to form Alpha Outfitters as if it were a female-owned business so he could bid on a contract. She is awaiting sentencing.

Bedway, Kebr and Sgt. Gordon McDaniel, who oversees the police vehicle fleet, appeared before the grand jury last month.

Harper has described Bedway as a former friend. The chief said his wife, Cynthia Harper, 58, once worked as a consultant with Kathleen Bowman, co-owner of Victory Security.

Ravenstahl's office learned Feb. 6 that Harper and four officers last year set up an outside company called Diverse Public Safety Consultants Inc. The city law department was reviewing the arrangement.

Harper began his tenure as chief in October 2006, becoming the first black police chief in more than a decade. He joined the police force in 1977, and worked as a motorcycle officer, plainclothes detective and in the narcotics unit, eventually becoming the commander of that squad from 1995 to 1996. Before becoming chief, he worked as assistant chief of investigations. He is set to make $105,000 this year, according to city records.


This article was written by Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE.