Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 15, 1990 · Page 49
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 49

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Saturday, September 15, 1990
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9 Zemprelli motion denied by judge By Mike Bucsko Post-Gazette Staff Writer A federal judge yesterday rejected an attorney's argument that former state Sen. Edward Zemprelli was singled out for prosecution because he was a public figure. But U.S. District Judge Gus-tave Diamond said he would reserve a formal ruling on a request to dismiss conspiracy and mail fraud charges against Zemprelli until he considers another legal issue in the case. Zemprelli, 63, of Clairton was among five men indicted in February in connection with a real-estate scheme in which 2,600 investors were bilked of $57 million. Philip Ignelzi, Zemprelli's attorney, asked Diamond to dismiss the charges against Zemprelli for two reasons: a 1989 agreement in a civil case against Zemprelli and because prosecutors pursued an indictment against Zemprelli because of his notoriety. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission in June 1989 entered into an agreement with Zemprelli in a civil lawsuit in which Zemprelli agreed to stay out of the real-estate activity that is the subject of the indictment Zemprelli did not admit any wrongdoing in the civil lawsuit agreement Ignelzi argued the charges against Zemprelli in the indict-ment are a duplication of the civil suit and should therefore be throws out At the conclusion of a hearing yesterday, Diamond said he wanted to review the issue before he issued a ruling. In the second matter, Ignelzi said Zemprelli was selectively prosecuted for his involvement with Earned Capital Corp., the main entity involved in the real-estate scheme. Two other attorneys, Ronald Buick and George Mahfood, represented principles in the company or the company itself and were not indicted, Ignelzi said. And because Assistant U S. Attorney Craig McKay told Ignelzi that Zemprelli would not be indicted a month before he was, Ignelzi said Zemprelli's indictment was the result of his being a public figure. Zemprelli served in the state legislature from 1963 until 1988. Diamond, however, rejected the argument. Prosecutors make decisions about who they will prosecute for a variety of reasons and there was no evidence that Zemprelli was singled out because of who he was, the judge said. . Diamond appeared to bristle when Ignelzi suggested that Zemprelli's prosecution was politically motivated by a Republican-controlled U.S. attorney's office. . "Yes, and when I prosecuted a Democrat and I was a Democrat, the contention was that it was a power play," Diamond, a former U.S. attorney, shot back at Ignelzi. Review PAT operations, Gamble says By Frank Reeves Post-Gazette Harrisburg Correspondent KARRISBURG-Atatimewhen lawmakers are debating how best to fund mass transit Rep. Ron Gamble, D-Oakdale, called this week for a review of the operations of the Port Authority. "We are not looking for a smoking gun. We want to know what kind of financial condition PAT is in" before considering any new tax proposals to subsidize mass transit said Gamble, who is chairman of the House Local Government Committee. - The examination, to be carried out by the Local Government Committee, is to be completed by Dec. 1. Committee staff also will be checking to see if PAT has complied with several changes ordered by the Legislature when it examined the operations of the mass-transit system five years ago. The Legislature ordered PAT management to establish a citizens' advisory committee, to reduce the size of the system's governing board and to conduct periodic audits. The changes were included in legislation that took away the right of unions that represent PAT workers to request binding arbitration without the consent of PAT management Now a request for binding arbitration requires the approval of management and the unions. Jason Fincke, a spokesman for PAT, said the system would welcome an investigation by Gamble. "It is important that everyone has confidence in how we operate. We want the Legislature to realize that we are spending money wisely," he said. In June, the Legislature voted $60.6 million for PAT, including money for the long-term maintenance of its fleet of buses. Hafer would use gas tax to aid transit PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Barbara Hafer won support yesterday for her proposal to give mass transit 2 cents of a proposed 6-cent increase in state gasoline taxes. The Committee for Public Mass Transit Survival, a non-partisan citizens group, endorsed Hafer's plan for a dedicated funding source to finance mass transit across Pennsylvania. William Jamison, representing the committee, noted that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority already was charging $1.50 for a cash ride, the highest rate in the nation. "The enemy is not SEPTA," Hafer told the committee while criticizing her Democratic opponent Gov. Casey. "SEPTA needs more money to function. We need a dedicated funding source. In fact, we need to find many sources for mass transit in the state because the funding has to be spread across Pennsylvania. 'Today we have a governor who is hiding and not facing the problem of mass transit," she said. Casey has said repeatedly that he opposes a dedicated source of funding for mass transit Hafer's plan to use 2 cents of a gasoline tax increase would require a constitutional amendment. The other 4 cents would go to highways. The Republican first offered the plan in July but had pressed it less vigorously in recent weeks in light of the increase in gasoline prices brought on by the upheaval in the Middle East. She said she supported a proposal by U.S. Rep. William Gray III, D-Philadelphia, who wants the federal government to strip Pennsylvania of $142 million from the highway fund if the state fails to "This head-in-the-sand approach will only result in terrible economic harm not just to Philadelphia, but to all of Pennsylvania." Barbara Hafer approve a dedicated source of funding for mass transit Gray's proposal has passed the House and now goes to a House-Senate conference committee as part of a larger funding bill. The proposal is expected to survive. Hafer said the Gray bill would force rural legislators, who need highway money for their roads, to act swiftly on mass transit aid. "I must once again call on the current governor to take a stand on Gray's bill," she said. "This head-in-the-sand approach will only result in terrible economic harm - not just to Philadelphia, but to all of Pennsylvania." She said she opposed a regional tax, specifically a half-cent sales tax to support mass transit, "because it isn't workable and is opposed in the suburbs." Fincke said PAT expected that it would need $2 billion over the next 10 years to pay for major projects like the construction of the airport busway and extension of the T subway from Downtown to Oakland. PAT officials like their coun terparts at the Southeastern Transportation Authority, which serves the Philadelphia metropolitan area , want a so-called dedicated tax that would ensure funds for these large-scale projects. Fincke said Pennsylvania was one of the few states that do not have a tax earmarked specifically for mass-transit projects. But Gamble said this week that he opposed a tax that would be exclusively for mass-transit projects. Remove district justice, Supreme Court advised BENTLEYVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A: judicial review board has called for the removal of a Washington County district justice who was accused of soliciting sex from a woman who had a case pending before him. The incident was detailed as one of several charges in a report filed Thursday by the state Supreme Court's Judicial Inquiry and Review Board against suspended Justice Stephen J. Morgo of Bentleyville. The board, which oversees the conduct of judges and lawyers, unanimously recommended in a 30-page report filed in Harrisburg that the Supreme Court remove Morgo from office. The board said Morgo asked the woman to have sex with him in September 1986 after he learned from Bentleyville police that she was a prostitute. Morgo previously had told her that she could plead guilty and pay a reduced fine and costs of $148 in connection with a disorderly-conduct charge, the board said. The woman refused Morgo's advances and paid the full $349 fine in October 1986, the board said. The state Supreme Court suspended Morgo with pay in June 1989 after an audit showed that he had destroyed records of traffic violations that his office had handled. The records should have been kept, the report said. Morgo has a non-published telephone number. His attorney, William McCormick, did not immediately return phone calls yesterday. Among other findings, the board said testimony and evidence showed that Morgo: Issued a bogus citation to "get even" with a man whom he paid in a failed attempt to hire a prostitute for him. Destroyed 1986 traffic files in an attempt to cover up his involvement with the same man. Found McCormick innocent of a speeding violation. Morgo scheduled a hearing the day after the citation was filed and did not notify the arresting officer. Morgo has 30 days to file a response to the report, the board said. Slain student's friend revived after hanging LOCK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) - Rescue workers resuscitated a young man found hanging in an apartment stairwell early yesterday, less than two days after his friend was found slain in a Lock Haven University dormitory room. Geisinger Medical Center spokeswoman Barb Buck said Michael McGarvey, 19, of Lock Haven was in critical condition yesterday afternoon. She said McGarvey's physician would not release information regarding his injuries. Neither Lock Haven University police nor state police yesterday afternoon would identify the dead student and his friend. But emergency rescue workers identified the dead man as Michael Houseknecht, 20, of Hughesville, Lycoming County. The Lock Haven Express reported McGarvey was found by rescue officials hanging from a rope about 2:10 a.m. yesterday. A neighbor noticed lights on in the apartment and heard water running and found McGarvey. A source told the newspaper that a photograph of Houseknecht, with a message written on the back and a safety pin attached, was found at the bottom of the staircase. Emergency-rescue workers resuscitated McGarvey and rushed him to the hospital, The Express said. McGarvey is not a student at Lock Haven. Clinton County District Attorney Merritt E. McKnight's only statement had been that the student's "manner of death is consistent with a homicide." He said university and state police were investigating. Clinton County Coroner Dean K. Wentzler Jr. had not released the autopsy results on the dead student, but earlier reports indicated Houseknecht had been strangled. Officials discovered Housek-necht's body in his dormitory room Wednesday night after his mother became worried about being unable to reach him for several days. Friends said they last saw Houseknecht the afternoon of Sept. 6, when they made plans for later that evening. University spokeswoman Pat Donghia said the young man's death had shocked the 3,400-undergradu-ate campus in north-central Pennsylvania. "We're located in a small town about 10,000 people," university spokesman Pat Donghia said. "This type of event doesn't happen all the time." "A student's death is a tragic loss to our academic community," university President Craig Dean Willis said. "The university grieves with the student's family." Houseknecht, a junior, most recently had been a social-work major after changing his major several times. Philadelphia bond rating drops PHILADELPHIA (AP) - With just enough cash to last another 12 to 14 weeks, Philadelphia received another financial blow yesterday when Moody's Investors Service lowered the city's bond rating. The mayor, the governor and legislative leaders plan to meet Wednesday to discuss the crisis. Mayor W. Wilson Goode said he would announce a new financial plan next week. The city has been trying to sell $375 million in short-term loan notes butihad found no banks to guarantee the h Goode withdrew the sale this week rather than pay inordinately high interest rates on the notes, which would be due next spring. . Finance Director Betsy Reveal said that without an infusion of cash, the city would be out of money by the end of the year or shortly thereafter. "We will not be able to pay our payroll, to meet our commitments, or to maintain city services," she said. "One hundred percent of city services are at risk, and anybody yvho doesn't think that's the case hasi oeen missing the point" i- : join vs wife FOR FALL 1990 Fall at Talbots means new clothes, new colors, new accessories. We've put together a day of seminars to demonstrate the new style strategies for a complete wardrobethis fall. Saturday, September 15. Enjoy personal color and make-up analysis, informal modeling, light refreshments and a chance to win great prizes. 12 noon. Accessories can be Fun. Find out how to accessorize for a more s polished look. Drawing for a Talbots scarf follows the seminar. 2 p.m. rdrofiiBaloxSaccess, Make your wardrobe work for you. Drawing for a Talbots sweater follows the seminar. 4 p.m. Petite is a Proportion. i Learn more about the style and fit of clothing for women 5 V and under. Drawing for a Talbots Petites sweater follows the seminar. 5 p.m. Grand Prize Drawing for Talbots "Personal Pampering Day," which Includes a $300 wardrobe, two-hour private shopping appointment, refreshments and wardrobe consultation. .internum e I K lit ; -V V ki J V Hie vt J tail 1 Updated Classic Women's Clothing Galleria, Ml. Lebanon. Tel. 3417738 ' One Oxford Centre,. Pittsburgh. Tel. 391-3005 Shadyside. Tel. 68277?3 Sewickley. Tel. 741 24

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