The Beaver County Controller’s Office was contacted by investigators with state police last year in the moments after Commissioners Dan Camp and Tony Amadio voted to fire the county’s financial administrator and oust Commissioner Sandie Egley as chairman, BeaverCountian.com can now report.
Controller David Rossi has confirmed on-the-record that he and Deputy Controller William Calhoon volunteered to be interviewed in March 2018 as part of ongoing investigations by state police into local government. The confirmation comes as Commissioner Sandie Egley once again publicly broached the subject of corruption during a speech she gave earlier this month.
It was on March 8, 2018 that Commissioner Tony Amadio made the motions to fire County Financial Administrator Ricardo Luckow and to oust Egley as chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Camp joined in ratifying the measures, and has voted in near unison with Amadio since then.
The fait accompli occurred less than one week after the Pennsylvania State Police raided the Aliquippa City Building and publicly confirmed a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury was investigating public corruption in Beaver County. It was just days after Amadio had once again made demonstrably false statements to other media outlets about the county’s finances under his administration, denying the existence of massive deficits which had been confirmed by outside auditors.
Officials described to BeaverCountian.com at the time a chaotic scene in the courthouse, details of which had been provided strictly off-the-record until now.
Luckow was still packing up his office when cellphones began ringing in the pockets of some county officials. The Pennsylvania State Police wanted to talk.
Egley said she was debriefed at the barracks in Brighton Township just hours after Luckow’s termination. Rossi and Calhoon agreed to meet with investigators the next day. Luckow had also agreed to sit down for an interview.
The phones of Amadio and Camp remained silent.
(Before becoming financial administrator in 2016, Luckow had spent years as a contracted consultant for the Controller’s Office, where he was credited with uncovering a series of large financial improprieties in county government.)
Rossi and Calhoon each met individually on March 9 with a team that had by then already spent hundreds of hours probing the workings of local government.
Luckow similarly met with investigators, and described to BeaverCountian.com his meeting with a room full of officials from agencies including the Pennsylvania State Police, the organized crime section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, along with others who sat silently and did not introduce themselves.
In the months before his termination by Camp and Amadio, Luckow had been quietly working with Egley to gather together documents that were turned over to State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Egley had revealed on New Year’s Day 2018 that she was assisting law enforcement, and announced she would not be seeking re-election as commissioner (she announced just this week her candidacy for county treasurer).
Egley again broached the subject of county corruption on Feb. 5 of this year. Her opening remarks at the State of Beaver County address sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce lead to audible whispers in the gathered crowd of business owners and executives.
“The backdoor men’s club is real. The corruption is real,” Egley said. “It’s all about who you know, your last name, and how you can work the system. It’s regularly discussed in the halls of the courthouse, as a matter-of-fact like.”
Egley reiterated her remarks later in the program, “There are ongoing investigations. It’s not normal to go up to the state police, it’s not normal to go to the FBI, it’s not normal to talk to the Attorney General’s Office. In my position, it’s just not normal.”
Egley’s assertions about a corrupt county government were met with ridicule by Camp and Amadio.
“We sat here last year talking about corruption. That is not our job,” Camp said. “We are not crime fighters, I am not the sheriff, I am not the (District Attorney), I’m not the local municipality police, I’m a county commissioner. … Right now that’s not what I’m focused on as a county commissioner is to fight corruption and discuss it.”
Camp went on to state emphatically that there is no corruption in county government under areas where he has responsibility.
Amadio agreed with Camp, saying he was proud of county government and its workers, and is unaware of any corruption.
“As far as corruption, I keep hearing that all the time but identify exactly what you’re talking about,” Amadio said. “There’s no way for me to even address a concept without any particulars.”
As with Egley, Rossi told BeaverCountian.com he can not provide specifics for this report on what he and Calhoon were asked by investigators, or what information they provided to aid ongoing investigations.
“I can’t talk about what was said, what we told them,” Rossi said. “I can’t comment.”
While Rossi and Calhoon have assisted state investigators, they have also become a subject of their inquiry. Last month BeaverCountian.com reported that investigators had begun asking county officials for information about iCPR, a real estate company owned by the two men. Rossi and Calhoon both insist there are no wrongdoings associated with their personal business ventures, and hint of retaliation by others in county government.