Is this politician corrupt? You decide!

Detroit had Kwame Kilpatrick, Virginia had Bob McDonnell and now it seems Western Pennsylvania has Rich Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Allegheny County. In the 3-plus years in office as the powerful political leader east of Harrisburg, he has found himself the subject of various probes and critiques into alleged nefarious and ethically questionable activities.

In 2013, he was criticized when it was discovered he compelled over 40 appointees to county boards to sign undated resignation letters. That same year, the man who he appointed to the board of the county’s public transportation agency with the intention making him the next CEO of the agency was indicted by Pennsylvania Attorney General in a “pay-to-play” corruption scandal he was involved in as head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation.

In 2014, he was subject to an ethics investigation regarding his conduct to garner votes from county council member for legislation that would allow natural gas drilling in a county owned park. In late 2014, the County Controller discovered he misused his county issued vehicle for political and personal purposes and ordered him to repay the county over ,000. He turned over the car and wrote a check for over ,000 while claiming no wrongdoing on his part.

This year, Mr. Fitzgerald attempted to appoint a man to the county finance and development board who federal authorities accused of embezzling from an employee benefit fund and is prohibited by the federal government from holding a position involving oversight or management of any employee benefit plans for 14 years. Last month, a local reporter began investigating potential conflicts of interest with members of county boards who also have contracts with the county. The three board member’s companies highlighted in the story have received contracts valued at 2,898, ,543,286 and ,200,000 respectively.

On March 24, 2015, a county council-member questioned Mr. Fitzgerald about the business he owns and whether he does business with any companies that also do business with the county. In an awkward display, he un-artfully avoided the question, prompting increased scrutiny on any potential conflicts of interest between his roles as CEO of Aquanef and Chief Executive of Allegheny County. We think it is time Mr. Fitzgerald starts answering these critical questions and comes clean on business dealings.

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