Official meeting minutes from a Commissioners’ public work session held earlier this year materially misstate a question asked by the Beaver Countian and an answer given by Commissioner Tony Amadio related to former County Solicitor Joseph Askar. County records show the meeting minutes were altered with additional misinformation after first being distributed — all three County Commissioners say they had no knowledge the records were changed and officials are now investigating who may be responsible.

The county’s production of public records containing an inaccurate summary of work session proceedings came after an investigation by the Beaver Countian first revealed back in June that attorney Joseph Askar had represented the new corporate owners of Friendship Ridge while still working as Chief County Solicitor. Commissioner Sandie Egley made a formal request to state officials in September that an investigation be conducted to determine whether Askar violated the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Responsibility. Askar insists there was nothing improper about his dealings with the company.

The Beaver Countian first became aware of meeting minutes containing a false characterization of its questioning of Commissioner Tony Amadio this week when it received a copy of all minutes for 2017. The minutes were obtained in response to a Right-To-Know request made by the Beaver Countian back on September 20th — the county had invoked a 30-day extension before answering the request.

During the public work session held on May 31st, the Beaver Countian asked about legal work performed by then-Chief County Solicitor Joseph Askar for the new corporate owners of Friendship Ridge. Questioning by the Beaver Countian followed questions by a member of the public about a fundraiser for Governor Wolf held at Friendship Ridge just days before the meeting — Commissioner Tony Amadio was one of the named hosts of the event along with former County Solicitor Joe Askar.

The following is a transcript of the exchange as taken from an audio recording made at the time by the Beaver Countian:

John Paul: “County Solicitor Joseph Askar oversaw the sale of Friendship Ridge, he was also the one who organized that event up at Friendship Ridge recently. I received documentation from the state that shows that Solicitor Joseph Askar, while still County Solicitor, represented Friendship Ridge following the sale, to collect monies that would have been owed to the County had they not been negotiated away during the sale. Are you aware that Joseph Askar represented Friendship Ridge while still County Solicitor and did you approve it?”

Commissioner Amadio: “I have no knowledge of that. Prior to the sale?”

John Paul: “No, after the sale but while still County Solicitor.”

Commissioner Amadio: “No, not while he was County Solicitor.”

John Paul: “So you have no knowledge of that?”

Amadio: “No.”

John Paul: “Ok, thank you.”

The Beaver Countian included Amadio’s answer as part of the investigative report it ran on June 2nd, titled, “Former Chief County Solicitor Represented New Friendship Ridge Owners While Still Employed By The County.”

Here is how the May 31st exchange between the Beaver Countian and Commissioner Amadio appeared in the county’s official meeting minutes provided in response to the open records request:

“The former County Solicitor Joseph Askar oversaw the sale of Friendship Ridge, who recently oversaw a fundraiser there. JP received documentation from the state that Joseph Askar, while still county solicitor, represented Friendship Ridge. To the Commissioners – were you aware of this fundraiser that took place after the sale and while he was still county solicitor, and did you approve it? Commissioner Amadio stated he had no knowledge. Correction – Commissioner Amadio stated that he was not aware of the fundraiser.”

Rather than correctly reflecting that the Beaver Countian asked Commissioner Amadio if he had been aware attorney Joseph Askar represented Friendship Ridge while still serving as the county’s attorney, the minutes falsely state the Beaver Countian asked if Amadio was aware of a fundraiser held at the facility.

Whether then-Solicitor Joseph Askar had approval of Commissioner Tony Amadio to represent the new corporate owners of Friendship Ridge — rather than performing the legal work without the Board’s prior knowledge and consent — could potentially become an issue given Commissioner Egley’s request to have an investigation conducted into the matter.

Meeting minutes are considered the official record of public business discussions by county officials.

The Beaver Countian obtained a copy of the original public work session minutes for May 31st as provided to Commissioners at the time. The meeting minutes were produced by the Chief County Clerk and distributed in early June — the minutes are not consistent with the ones provided to the Beaver Countian this week in response to its Right-To-Know request. Not appearing in the original meeting minutes is the line: “Correction – Commissioner Amadio stated that he was not aware of the fundraiser.”

The Beaver Countian raised concerns with the county that its questioning had been mischaracterized in the meeting minutes and that the minutes provided in response its Right-To-Know request were different than the original documents.

Commissioner Sandie Egley confirmed that the minutes did not accurately reflect the Beaver Countian’s questioning of Amadio and that they were different from the original copy she had been given.

“I was unaware there was an alteration to the meeting minutes,” said Commissioner Sandie Egley. “The minutes that the Beaver Countian received from its Right-To-Know request are different than the ones I had originally received from the Chief Clerk […] The questions that the Beaver Countian asked of Commissioner Amadio were misconstrued and that concerns me.”

Commissioners Egley said she began researching the issue after being asked about the matter.

“I asked the Chief Clerk to show me the hard file of the meeting minutes that she types, she pulled those and gave them to me,” said Egley. “It showed no added correction noted. I asked her if she made any alterations after I saw the minutes and she said that she did not and said she was surprised by the added text […] No one should be changing work session meeting minutes but the Chief County Clerk.”

Commissioner Dan Camp also said he was unaware that alterations had been made to the public record, “I had no knowledge of the minutes being changed. I certainly didn’t change it or ask for it to be changed.”

Commissioner Tony Amadio said he agrees that the minutes are a false characterization of the Beaver Countian’s questions and his answers during the May 31st meeting, and that he did not ask for the “correction” to be added.

“I had no prior knowledge of [Joe Askar] representing Comprehensive,” said Commissioner Amadio. “What I remember is, I said I had no prior knowledge of that, and that was what [the minutes] should say.”

Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services is the private corporation that purchased Friendship Ridge from the county.

Commissioner Egley said the issue is significant because the Board of Commissioners had not voted to approve any of the weekly minutes from 2017 until after the Beaver Countian made its Right-To-Know request for the records in late September. New copies of the minutes from the year were provided to the Board by the County Law Department prior to a vote being taken this month to ratify them. Commissioners Camp and Egley both said that since they review the minutes each week when they are initially distributed — and had not been notified of subsequent alterations — they did not review the minutes in exhaustive detail again before voting to approve them.

Chief County Clerk Cynthia Cook, who also serves as Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Sandie Egley, confirmed to the Beaver Countian that she was not the one who added the “correction” to the meeting minutes. Tony Caltury, Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Dan Camp, told the Beaver Countian that he was not the one who altered the public record. Nicole Long, Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Tony Amadio, also confirmed to the Beaver Countian that she did not add the “correction” to the meeting minutes.

County officials say they do not know who altered the public record, or why, but are continuing to investigate the matter.

Listen to the Beaver Countian’s John Paul question Commissioner Tony Amadio about Joe Askar in this clip from the May 31st public work session:


Invitation to Gov Wolf fundraiser at former Friendship Ridge Facility / submitted photo

44 COMMENTS

  1. 😳 who else has access to those records? We want answers. The corruption needs to stop. I probably already know the answer…

     
  2. Tony appears to have frequent bouts of memory lapses. Or else he is trying like hell to cover his tracks. Walls are starting to close in around you Sgt. Know Nothing Schultz! How the hell do you not remember a fund raiser when you are a headliner sucking up to the piece of shit Governor? What else is Lil Tony hiding?? Stay tuned. JP, take this bastard down hard! 30 years as a teacher? No wonder this kids are so f-cked up today. Taught by corrupt hacks without morals, ethics or scruples. Shame on you Lil Dude!

     
    • “Are you aware that Joseph Askar represented Friendship Ridge while still County Solicitor and did you approve it?”

      That was the origional question asked and answered. It was changed to the question about the fundraiser. That is point. Why?

       
      • Askar was involved in a conflict of interest. He is the only one who could benefit from changing the minutes. Who had access to that file that is close to Askar? Shame you have to lock up official records from the employees.

         
  3. All a bunch of criminals! Every one of them should be in prison! Sunday there was only 10 Sheriffs cars in the lot. I guess we are still paying for personal transportation to and from work.

     
  4. I see it’s business as usual down at the ole’ Beaver County Shithouse.
    Somebody, anybody needs to go to jail……….

     
  5. yeah i want to know why sheriff deputies get to drive county cars around on taxpayers money i see a few of the cars sitting at their homes what the hell is that about and how can we stop it
    are they using county cars to fetch groceries and what not dont they make enough money to drive their own fuckin cars

     
    • Well blink, if there are 10 cars parked, that leaves at least 20 unaccounted for. They did stop that practice for about two weeks when everyone was raising hell. After it cooled off it went back to the old way and we get fucked. A slap in the taxpayers face! We will strike back at the next election. See who is laughing then.

       
    • You think about those Sheriffs cars every time you fill your car up and pull that $60 out of your pocket every week.

       
      • $60 per week X 20 cars, let’s see, that comes to umm about $1200 a week or $4,800 each and every month. $57,600.00 per year.

         
      • hey binky and johnq why don’t you call each other on the phone. Please pay attention to the thread.

         
      • That is absolutely brilliant. We could live stream their tracking device on the internet so we know where our tax dollars are going. This will also help out getting the criminals get away because though always know where the sheriff’s department is. Brilliant

         
    • Just Askar’s. He’s the only one up for prosecution or censure by the bar. Who would he have sent to do that? Ultimately, if Cynthia Cook is responsible for the accuracy of that record, she needs to find out who made the change or take responsibility of the change. Period. Is this a firing offense?

      First off, Sandie should have the server checked for any incoming emails from Askar. The server and on all emails are property of the county, so that’s perfectly legal. (Well first, don’t put Lozier in charge of any investigation- or Guy.)

       
  6. Obvious someone is lying…a lie detector test will flush out the culprit. I originally thought the culprit would have to be computer savvy, but I wonder just typing in Minutes of Meeting on (date) could possibly bring up the file, but if those files are password protected, well…lie detector test will resolve the mystery.

     
  7. A lie detector test can be beaten by professional liars such as politicians and lawyers. This issue will be swept under the rug by the 2 male commissioners and hopefully forgotten unless JP and Sandie persist.

     
    • Professional lying BC Outhouse crooks, politicians and lawyers that operate at the BC courthouse can beat anything. Queen Connie has them mastering the art of subterfuge and covering up criminal activity. Again, RICO statute needs to be implemented to drain the BC sewer. Otherwise these turds will keep on bobbing along on top of the cesspool.

       
  8. This isn’t that difficult. Who received the original BC right to know request and who did they give it to to fulfill the request? If it wasn’t the chief clerk who is responsible for the official minutes, why?

    Who was the administrative clerk who supported Askar before he was fired? Were they involved in the process of fulfilling the right to know request?

    Where is the hardfile stored, on a networked drive? Who else has access to that directory and why hasn’t IT been asked to audit who has opened the original?

    Which “officials”‘ are doing the investigating here? The county detectives, the commissioners or the clerks? You weren’t clear in the reporting who is picking up the ball and running with it, charged with finding an answer.

     
    • “Which ‘officials’ are doing the investigating here? The county detectives, the commissioners or the clerks? You weren’t clear in the reporting who is picking up the ball and running with it, charged with finding an answer.”

      As of the time of this report several different county officials were doing their own inquiries and it was not clear how the Board is going to proceed as a whole. I will be at the public work session today and hope to get some additional answers and clarification then.

       
  9. While I am on the subject of public work sessions:

    For those who would like to see the Beaver County Board of Commissioners LIVE, the public work session is held each Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Conference Room in the courthouse.

    Free parking is available in the parking garage next to the courthouse. If you then enter the courthouse through the front doors, make an immediate right and the conference room will be down the hallway on the right — take a seat and wait patiently for the show to begin.

    You may be asked to sign a visitors log but are under no obligation to do so and may politely decline if you so choose (as I do each meeting).

    The Wednesday work sessions are where most of the discussions happen and are a far less formal setting than the official public meetings — which are generally much shorter meetings held the second and fourth Thursday of each month for the Board to take official votes.

    The public has a right to be heard during the meeting and a public comments period is listed on the agenda. You may express your opinions to the Board and may also ask them any questions you have (you may be required to identify yourself if you chose to participate in the meeting in this way). It is important to note that by law the Commissioners are not required to answer your questions, although I have found the current Board to be generally responsive. Under rules established by the Board you have up to three minutes to speak, although I have rarely seen that rule strictly enforced by the current administration.

    Meetings of government such as these can seem intimidating for those who have not attended them before. I promise once you show up to one for yourself that will no longer be the case. Over the past couple of years there has been a small public meeting posse of concerned residents in the community who show up to meetings and they have been very supportive of newcomers. Members of the press will also be in attendance.

    If you show up to a meeting one of these Wednesdays be sure to say hi — I will be the lanky nerd sitting in the front row with a tablet of paper.

     
    • That is excellent information that a lot of residents never knew about. Why hasn’t the Commissioners ever put this information out on a regular basis? Most important, thank you for what you do JP.

       
  10. looks like they are following trumps police state agenda
    rob from the poor and give to the rich
    better not try to investigate any further the investigator might get fired thats the trump way

     
  11. Anyone else staring to think that we would have netted more money if we had just GAVE Comprehensive Friendship Ridge and cut out the twenty middlemen picking up their fees?

     
    • Yep, I think that shady deal was a lot more complicated than it had to be. My opinion is lots of people benefitted personally from that deal, and Comp Health should have never got a tax break.

       
  12. sorry ricky dipshit hillary isnt the one giving big tax breaks to rich people that dont need it but they donated to trumps campaign so they get tax breaks trump has done nothing yet to help america
    try reading and learning facts i know republicans have a hard time with facts .
    trump is nothing but a lying racist piece of shit and the only people that insist on supporting him are themselves lying racist pieces of shit
    fact he has done nothing but take from the poor and give to the rich
    LEARN TO READ assclown

     
  13. under trumps new tax plan the waltons of walmart got $53 billion tax cut – the koch brothers got $34 billion tax cut – trumps children got $ 4 billion tax cut – 99.8 % of americans didnt get a fuckin nickle in tax cuts
    so what percentage are you in rick
    and it wasnt hillary that fired comey so he couldnt investigate her
    LEARN TO READ

     
  14. If Lil Tony the “Educator” had any decency and pride he would immediately resign and be replaced. For a man that was supposedly a teacher for over 30 years it is incomprehensible that he does not know that ANY & ALL organizations from pee wee football to School Boards MUST take minutes that re reviewed every meeting from the previous meeting. Jesus, please tell me that this corrupt individual did not tech CIVICS! He continues to try and use ignorance, willfully disregarding the taxpayers interests but not that of Friends and Family Inc. A time comes in a persons life where you are accountable for your actions. Stand up once and be a man and admit that your were involved in corruption bordering on criminality. You have ineptly pretended to have taxpayers back but that is the farthest thing from the truth. Your legacy will be that of piss poor teacher and an even worse public servant. I am not a computer genius but if they could re-create Hillary’s e-mails despite all attempts to destroy them then any good IT person or forensic investigator will get who tampered with official records. Add conspiracy to impede/suspend an ongoing investigation before the last election (Queen Connie) and now add tampering with official records. Tony A, you are digging yourself one big ass hole that you may not be able to lie your way out of. Don’t try and blame it on everyone else. That is so millennial!

     

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