PITTSBURGH, PA (Aug. 3, 2015) With the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority still refusing to forward $12.8 million in gaming funds owed City taxpayers from 2014 to the present, the City of Pittsburgh today filed an amended complaint asking the Court of Common Pleas to force the ICA to issue the funding, as required by state law.
State law directs $10 million per year to the City for hosting a casino, to be paid quarterly. The City’s 2014 and 2015 operating budgets both rely on that funding, and both budgets were approved by the ICA. Yet the ICA has never once forwarded the City 2014 or 2015 gaming funds owed since Mayor William Peduto took office last year.
The city filed suit July 2 to force the ICA to issue the City $11.4 million in outstanding gaming funds, and followed that July 15 with related discovery and Right To Know requests. The state has since certified additional gaming funds for the 2nd quarter of 2015, so the ICA now owes the City $12.8 million from the past two years. That figure will rise to $20 million by the end of December.
“If this taxpayer-financed body is not going to do its job and support the financial condition of Pittsburgh, I have no choice but to do it for them,” Mayor Peduto said. “It’s far past time to shine sunlight on how the ICA works in the shadows to hoard and spend City money that should be going to road construction, police protection and other desperately needed services.”
Today’s complaint expands on the City’s previous filings, noting that the ICA’s withholding of the gaming funds violates its statutory obligations under the law that created the ICA (Act 11 of 2004) and the law regulating Pennsylvania casinos (Act 71 of 2004).
The City has submitted repeated requests to the ICA for the release of outstanding funds through 2014 and 2015, and submitted its latest such request this morning at an ICA board meeting (a copy of today’s request is here). The board’s lead agenda item today was the hiring of the Philadelphia law firm Conrad O’Brien as special counsel.
The complaint filed by the City today says the ICA board and its executive director “have ignored and refused to release or direct the use of such funds to the financial detriment of the City and its taxpayers. The ICA has not accounted for the funds withheld throughout 2014 and 2015, while the City has been deprived of substantial funds relied upon in the budgets.
The ICA’s withholding of funds is without a reasonable or statutory basis.”
The suit has been assigned to Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine A. Ward. No public hearing dates have yet been scheduled.
A copy of today’s amended complaint is available here.
Monday, August 3, 2015
City of Pittsburgh
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