A local judge will be presiding over a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the county’s former Director of Purchasing.
President Judge John D. McBride has been scheduled to consider motions in a lawsuit filed by Mary Anne Ruskin alleging she was terminated for exposing corruption by Sheriff George David.
Ruskin was relieved from her position as County Purchasing Director on May 16th, 2013 after the Board of Commissioners voted to eliminate her position. Ruskin contends her termination was a direct result of speaking out against what she believed to be corruption within the Sheriff’s Office. She filed suit against the county in October of last year alleging violations of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law. The County has denied her termination had anything to do with Sheriff George David, calling the elimination of her position a cost cutting measure.
President Judge John D. McBride will be holding a hearing for preliminary objections in Ruskin’s lawsuit in early August. McBride had previously issued orders recusing all local judges from hearing other legal matters involving Sheriff David, including criminal charges filed against him by the Pennsylvania State Police and a lawsuit filed against him by the Beaver County Board of Commissioners.
Ruskin’s lawsuit does not name George David as a defendant because her position was under a unit controlled directly by County Commissioners — But her complaint alleges it was George David’s actions that precipitated her dismissal, less than two years before her scheduled retirement from the county.
“As Director of the Purchasing Department, Ruskin was responsible for obtaining bids for the uniforms for the Sheriff’s Department every two years,” reads the lawsuit. “In January 2012, [Beaver County’s] Sheriff, George J. David, wanted Ruskin to give the bid for the uniforms to a company whose owner was known to be a friend of Sheriff David. The uniform company at issue was not the lowest bidder. Ruskin refused to do so and fought to accept the lowest bid of M&M Uniforms, Inc.”
Ruskin’s complaint goes on to describe subsequent abusive behavior by Sheriff David.
“During a work session on February 22, 2012, Sheriff David verbally attacked Plaintiff in connection with her decision to award the uniforms to the lowest bidder. After Sheriff David’s display of outbursts during the February 22, 2012 meeting, Plaintiff made several complaints to Human Resources and the County Law Department regarding Sheriff David’s actions.”
Mary Anne Ruskin later testified under subpoena against Sheriff George David before the 34th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury.
An investigation by the Beaver Countian into Ruskin’s complaints about bid fixing led to Sheriff George David pulling out his service revolver while threatening to murder this reporter and several other individuals. Sheriff David repeatedly mentioned Ruskin during the tirade, mimicking and mocking her while referring to her as a “whore.”
The Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges against Sheriff David stemming from that incident, but David was acquitted of those charges this month after a judge ruled there was no proof his service revolver was actually loaded and a jury found reasonable doubt as to the remaining counts.
A hearing to consider preliminary objections in Mary Anne Ruskin’s whistleblower suit is scheduled for August 5th at 1:30pm in Courtroom 1.