A resident of Beaver County compiled a 180-page dossier on the sale of Friendship Ridge which he then sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, among others last month. Witnesses who have been interviewed by the Pennsylvania State Police in recent weeks tell the Beaver Countian that investigators are now starting to ask questions about the sale of Friendship Ridge, and about business dealings associated with current and former county officials and the facility’s new corporate owners.
The dossier consists of a 12-page letter by the document’s author, who the Beaver Countian is not identifying by name, along with 167 pages of supporting documentation compiled by the man over the course of many months through a number of Right-to-Know requests to the county. The man’s open records requests appear to have initially been informed by investigative reporting published by the Beaver Countian, although the man requested and obtained a number of documents not previously reported on by this publication and he independently produced findings also outside the scope of its reporting.
In his introductory letter, the man describes himself to law enforcement officials as having previously served in the armed forces.
“On behalf of the taxpayers of Beaver County, I request your office conduct an investigation surrounding questionable financial transactions associated with the sale by Beaver County of the county owned Friendship Ridge Nursing Home to Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services in March 2014,” he wrote in a letter dated February 26, 2018. “I have read and reviewed thousands of criminal investigation reports while assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Defense Investigative Service. As such, I believe DA Lozier’s investigation was a ‘farce’ conducted to appease Beaver County residents under the premises of ‘move along folks, nothing here to see’ rather than to determine what, if any, criminal violations occurred and who, if anyone, committed those violations.”
District Attorney Lozier had stopped an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police into the sale of Friendship Ridge in its infancy, stating in March of 2016 that, “The Pennsylvania State Police are not allowed to investigate anything involving the courthouse without my written approval,” and, “I have not and will not be referring these matters to them.”
The dossier’s author notes that David Lozier’s County Detectives subsequently failed to conduct an interview of Controller David Rossi, and did not ask other witnesses what he believes are key questions, before concluding their investigation. Rossi and then-Financial Administrator Ricardo Luckow have both been critical of Lozier’s findings. Commissioners Tony Amadio and Dan Camp voted in January to surrender the county’s litigation seeking $1.3 million that a forensic auditor determined was still owed from the sale of the facility — a fact also noted in the dossier. Amadio and Camp voted to fire Ricardo Luckow last week.
Among the subjects explored in the report include bond defeasance, the unilateral transferring of funds by county officials and others, bank signature cards, the undocumented $1.2 million “loan” to Friendship Ridge’s new corporate owners, the $300,000 performance bonus paid to the new corporate owners, the propriety of certain wire transfers, and audits.
The dossier’s author quotes provisions of the Friendship Ridge sales agreement and Pennsylvania County Code, while providing his detailed analysis of financial and other documents obtained from the county.
The document’s author also provides his opinion of District Attorney Lozier’s Decision Not To Prosecute Memo, characterizing it as, “a document written by an individual unable or unwilling to comprehend the scope, facts, circumstances and evidence surrounding the matter under investigation. Or, the epitome of Prosecutorial Misconduct.”
As the Beaver Countian first reported in early January, state and federal law enforcement are currently conducting wide-sweeping investigations into some municipalities in Beaver County as well as county government. Some of those who have been interviewed by State Police tell the Beaver Countian they were recently asked questions about Friendship Ridge.
“[The investigator] told me that the Pennsylvania State Police should not have let [District Attorney] David Lozier ‘fire’ them,” said one of the individuals, who spoke to the Beaver Countian on condition they not be identified by name. “They promised me they would never let that happen again.”
The Beaver Countian is in the process of analyzing conclusions drawn by the dossier’s author and reviewing the supporting documentation he compiled from public records.