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Police investigating Pittsburgh mayor bodyguard's hours

on September 25, 2013 10:30 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — City police plan an internal investigation of timecards submitted by an officer who formerly worked as a bodyguard for Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and who testified against the mayor before a federal grand jury earlier this year.

When Fred Crawford testified in June, his attorney, Robert Stewart, said the grand jury investigation would eventually show that tax dollars were “wasted so the mayor could have a designated driver ... while he went out to bars.” Ravenstahl, a divorced 33-year-old who took office at age 26 when his predecessor died in office, has denied wrongdoing and called Crawford a liar. Federal prosecutors have refused to comment on the probe because grand juries are secret and Ravenstahl has not been charged, though witnesses have continued testifying this month.

Acting Chief Regina McDonald has confirmed Crawford’s time card records will be reviewed by the city’s Office of Municipal Investigations.

KDKA-TV reported that some of Crawford’s timecard entries don’t jibe, with Crawford allegedly recording 15.5 hours overtime for one day, then 13 hours for the same day on another time card.

“That’s one of the things OMI will have to look at,” McDonald told the station on Monday “How it went beyond the 24 hours worked and how that happened.”

By Tuesday, the chief was being less specific and stressing that all time cards of all the mayor’s bodyguards will be reviewed, and no wrongdoing was being alleged. She said it’s possible a bodyguard could have submitted two time cards for the same day to reflect work done before and after a shift, and confirmed Crawford submitted more than one time card for six different days she wouldn’t specify. Crawford retired in September 2011.

The mayor’s other two bodyguards have also testified before the grand jury.

Ravenstahl’s attorney, Charles Porter Jr., declined comment Tuesday, and Crawford’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

But in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Stewart questioned why the time card issue is surfacing only now.

“So nobody looked at these cards back when they had been submitted?” Stewart told the newspaper. “He’s retired, so what possibly could OMI — the group that investigates officer conduct to determine if they should be disciplined — what jurisdiction would they have over a retired cop?”

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has reviewed the bodyguards’ time cards and determined the trio earned thousands of hours of overtime, often by working late into the night and early morning hours, since Ravenstahl took office on Sept. 1, 2006.

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September 25, 2013 10:29 AM
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