Mayor Luke Ravenstahl confirmed today that he stayed in a private condo during the 2009 G-20 financial summit with money provided by a police credit union account. The FBI is currently investigating such accounts as part of a probe into the police bureau.
UPDATE: Or maybe not. Ravenstahl said later the spending rather could have been for furniture rental.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said this morning there are "hundreds if not thousands of expenditures" on accounts associated with the police bureau and maintained at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union.
"I know we're talking about two, three, four, five of them now," the mayor said regarding the number of accounts under review. "We want to do a thorough analysis and find out where the money was spent, was it appropriately spent, who used it, who had debit cards, and really get all those questions answered."
The Post-Gazette has learned that some of the money in those accounts was used to pay Giant Eagle expenses, airline fees, hotel rooms and restaurant bills in numerous cities.
The mayor gave what appeared to be a tacit confirmation that at least one of the accounts was used to pay for condos for him, public safety director Michael Huss and police Chief Nate Harper during the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009.
"Why that account was used, I don't know," the mayor said. "All I know is that I stayed there for two nights and stayed there because there were threats of protest on my house, the public safety director's house, the chief's house and we wanted to make sure that we could get out of our homes and be here for the events."
Mr. Ravenstahl urged people to be cautious before jumping to conclusions.
"Just because somebody spent money on a hotel room doesn't mean they weren't there doing city business, and just because money was spent on the G-20 doesn't mean that it wasn't supposed to be spent from that account," he said.
He said state and federal money reimbursed the city for its G-20-related expenses, including the condos.
If that whole mayor/Huss/condo thing seems familiar, Ravenstahl of course got stuck at a condo in Seven Springs five months after the G-20, where he was celebrating his 30th birthday before a crippling February 2010 snow emergency occurred.