The Beaver Countian has compiled the following timeline outlining some of the public controversies involving George David during the span of his career. This list is by no means exhaustive, and just begins to touch on some of the more high profile allegations against and incidents involving George David during his tenure as a policeman in Aliquippa, head of security at the Beaver County Jail, and Sheriff.
– 1972 –
George David is arrested for the first time on charges of Fornication and Bastardy. The case against him was withdrawn approximately 3 weeks later, although David was ordered to pay court costs associated with the case.
– 1978 –
George David’s brother Morry arrested for the first time on charges of establishing an illegal lottery and running gambling devices.
– 1979 –
In January of 1979 George David is arrested for the second time.
David faced multiple charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, and disorderly conduct after two African American men alleged they were beaten by David outside of a liquor store in Aliquippa.
Mark Walker and Clifton Hollins said George David felt they had been looking at his fiancée, went to his car to retrieve his blackjack, and immediately proceeded to beat them with it when he returned.
David insisted he was the one being harassed, and that the men had been making inappropriate comments. Even though he was not in uniform at the time of the incident, David said he went back to retrieve his blackjack and gun with the intention of arresting the two men. He claimed he used only the amount of force necessary to effectuate that arrest.
After a 3 day trial, a jury found David not guilty on all counts in a verdict that took jurors less than one hour to reach.
David was represented at the time by attorney John Havey, who years later would defend him as Sheriff in a lawsuit filed against him by County Commissioners. Havey is now a convicted felon who continues to practice law in Aliquippa.
Mark Walker’s sister, Lisa Walker, currently works as secretary for Beaver County Commissioner Joe Spanik.
– 1983 –
George David arrested a man named Willie Davis on charges of disorderly conduct after he said the man became unruly during an investigation on a disturbance call. Davis’ family said it was David who was the abusive one, alleging he repeatedly referred to the man as “nigger” and his mother as “mammy.”
David denied the accusation.
Two months later, an African American woman alleged David became hostile and abusive towards her during a traffic stop. The woman claimed David used vulgarities and gave her the middle finger while making her sit for 15 minutes while he joked around with his cousin, Officer Joseph David.
George David avoided being disciplined in the incident after a motion to suspend him from duty failed in a 4-3 vote by Aliquippa City Council.
The FBI subsequently conducted an investigation into the Aliquippa Police Department at the urging of the NAACP, who alleged that David and other officers were mistreating the city’s African American population.
– 1984 –
George David arrested Aliquippa Mayor Daniel Britza on trumped up charges of DUI. David had arrested the Mayor shortly after a contentious meeting of City Council, alleging he saw Britza swerving all over the road and running two stop signs.
A breathalizer test conducted at the state police barracks showed Britza had a BAC of only .06 (.10 was the legal limit at the time).
David testified under oath that Britza had slurred speech and had stumbled out of his car. Charges against Britza were dismissed by a judge after 10 witnesses, including 3 police officers, testified that David had been lying about Britza being intoxicated, saying he was not swerving all over the road, did not run any stop signs, and did not have slurred speech or any trouble standing.
One of the witnesses who testified about George David lying about the events involving Britza was Vicki Fratangeli, who is currently running for Mayor of Aliquippa as part of a ticket being supported by David.
– 1987 –
David is accused of becoming belligerent while breaking up a prayer vigil conducted by a group of retired LTV workers. The former employees were protesting pension reductions and the elimination of other retirement payments that resulted from the mill’s bankruptcy filing. Several protesters alleged that David began taunting them, calling them un-American, bums, and communists during his unprofessional tirade.
George David insisted he had conducted himself professionally and said the protesters were lying.
– 1988 –
George David’s brother Morry arrested for the second time on charges of bookmaking and criminal conspiracy.
– 1994 –
George David is fired as an Aliquippa patrolman. David ran for and was elected as an Aliquippa Democratic Committeeman, in violation of a City policy that forbid officers from holding elected office. David insisted he had gotten permission to run, a claim that City officials had denied. Officials gave David the opportunity to resign from the position as a Committeeman, and when he refused, he was terminated.
David’s brother Morry David threw his keys at Aliquippa City Manager Chris Bergensky during a meeting about George’s termination. Charges of assault filed against Morry David were dismissed by an Aliquippa Magistrate who ruled that prosecutors failed to prove Morry David meant to harm Bergensky when he threw his keys at him.
George David responded to his termination by forming an opposition ticket to run for City Council, acting as the group’s campaign manager. Dubbed M.O.P after the names of the three men on the ticket, James Mansueti, Richard Opsatnik, and Joseph Prioli, the group won their election and took majority control of the City.
George David was hired back as a patrolman, a year and half after he had been fired. Even though he had been receiving workman’s compensation for much of the time he was unemployed, the new City Council opted to give him full back-pay for the time he had been off work.
A few months later, David was appointed to the position of Beaver County Sheriff by Governor Tom Ridge following the resignation of the elected Sheriff, Frank Policaro, who left office to accept an appointment as a United States Marshal.
Just weeks after being appointed Sheriff, David made the first of his many power-grab moves in office, attempting to take control over the Beaver County Jail even though such a move would be forbidden under state law. David also proposed hiring 35 additional part-time deputies to increase the number of men under his command.
– 1996 –
Just three weeks after being appointed Sheriff, George David sparked wide-spread controversy when he unilaterally decided local trout fishermen wouldn’t be allowed to camp out in Brady’s Run park or have open fires on the grounds, in direct contradiction to 20 years of tradition. David had waited until hundreds of anglers had already begun pitched tents before issuing the ban, leading to enormous public backlash.
David eventually gave in to the pressure and reversed gear, leading to mass confusion on what would and would not be allowed during the popular event.
By law, park rules are established by the Board of Commissioners, who said David acted without their authority or consent. Commissioners later drafted detailed ordinances in an attempt to prevent a repeat of events.
– 1996 –
The double homicide trial of a young man accused of murdering his two parents came to a screeching halt after it was revealed Sheriff George David had intentionally withheld evidence in the case from the Pennsylvania State Police.
David said he was offended that he hadn’t been included as an investigator in the case, and had personal animosities toward the District Attorney at the time.
Sheriff David had been attempting to use the case to gain exposure for himself, personally transporting Samuel to and from the jail, garnering him face-time in front of television cameras.
In 2012, the Beaver Countian spent hours sifting through thousands of pieces of microfilm in the Clerk of Courts office looking for the misfiled transcripts of the case. This publication’s subsequent investigative report revealed for the first time the details of a stunning hearing that was held in a judge’s chambers about David’s behavior, including a discussion about whether David should be Mirandized.
– 1996 –
Beaver County District Attorney Theresa Dukovich announces that two witnesses told her Sheriff David threatened to murder a part-time employee of her office.
David allegedly threatened to murder Gary Hickman, an employee of Victim/Witness and a former Aliquippa councilman. David was allegedly angry with Hickman for speaking to the press for a story.
Sheriff David denied threatening to kill anyone, calling Hickman and his two witnesses liars and saying District Attorney Dukovich had a political vendetta against him.
No criminal charges were filed against David as a result of the incident.
– 1997 –
George David arrests Gary Hickman, who was still an employee of the District Attorney’s Office, on a 2-year-old arrest warrant for an alleged probation violation.
Sheriff David said he discovered the warrant while doing a background check on Hickman. David claimed he did the check after receiving several complaints that the man was teaching at CCBC when he should have been precluded from doing so due to a prior criminal conviction.
The warrant turned out to have been mistakenly issued, but Hickman spent over 24 hours in jail before he was released.
District Attorney Tony Berosh said at the time that he had never before heard of someone being jailed over a mistaken arrest warrant.
– 1997 –
Sheriff David acquires an Allegheny County PAT bus without seeking approval from the Board of Commissioners and has it parked outside of the Department of Public Works. The incident sparked a flurry of controversy, with Commissioners deciding the bus was a liability and telling David to get rid of it.
David insisted that he had to act fast to get the bus before the opportunity slipped through his fingers — Commissioners insisted David knew they wouldn’t have approved the acquisition which is why he didn’t check with them first.
The Allegheny Times wrote an editorial about Sheriff George David at the time, saying in part: “David has shown a consistent pattern throughout his career of acting first and then trying to talk his way out of the mess he got himself into […] Such rash behavior from the top law enforcement official in Beaver County, as David likes to bill himself, is unacceptable. One of these days, his haste is going to cause the county more trouble than he is worth”
David lost his election for Sheriff to Felix DeLuca.
– 1999 –
After failing to get elected to County Sheriff, having served in the role for two years following his appointment to fill out Sheriff Policaro’s term, George David is hired as Chief of Security for the Beaver County Jail — A position which hadn’t existed before David’s hire.
Commissioners insisted the creation of the position and the hiring of David was not a political move, but after David was elected Sheriff again in 2007, the county returned control of the facility’s security to the Warden, eliminating the position of Chief of Security entirely.
– 2002 –
Aliquippa begins a probe into $8,200 in confiscated money that had been discovered missing from a safe the previous year. George David had allegedly put the money into a white envelope and had given it to the City Administrator Rebecca Bradley to place in a safe back in 1999 when he was the Assistant Chief of Police.
Council voted to hire the Gentile-Meinert private security firm to investigate the matter, with David, now an Aliquippa Councilman, being the sole vote against the measure.
– 2007 –
Aliquippa Democratic Committee files a lawsuit against George David and Vickie Fratangeli. The Democratic Committee said the pair were engaged in the “illegal dissemination” of “deceptive sample ballots” that endorsed Fratangeli for Mayor.
Beaver County Judge Gus Kwidis agreed with the Democratic Committee, ruling that David and Fratangeli had illegally established an ad-hoc Political Action Committee (PAC) together in violation of the Pennsylvania Election Code.
The lawsuit noted that such a violation of Election Code amounted to a criminal misdemeanor, but neither ever faced criminal charges for their actions. Judge Kwidis issued an injunction barring further dissemination of the deceptive ballot, and ordering the Sheriff to confiscate and destroy any remaining copies.
– 2007 –
A report on the Beaver County Jail issued by the private security firm Gentile-Meinert, who had been hired by the County, detailed accusations of mismanagement and brutality during a time when George David was Chief of Security at the facility.
Among the items contained in the report included accusations that George David had been involved in the physical abuse of at least one African American prisoner. Private investigator Lou Gentile found the allegations against David to be unsubstantiated.
Also contained in the report were allegations that George David’s brother had been involved in running a gambling operation inside of the facility; that allegation was also found to be unsubstantiated by investigators.
Beaver County Jail Warden William Schouppe was suspended for one week without pay following the release of the report, but George David, who was running for Sheriff at the time, was not. Republican Commissioner Charlie Camp said he believed David should have been disciplined as well.
Lou Gentile would go on to become George David’s campaign manager during his run for County Sheriff.
– 2011 –
George David allegedly threatens to dismember and cannibalize campaign worker Daniel Fleishman in an incident that was witnessed by several other county elected officials.
“Georgie started screaming. He turned into a madman,” Beaver County Controller David Rossi told the Beaver Countian. “He kept screaming, you have the nerve to try to shake my hand […] I’ll cut off your hand, I’ll eat it, I’ll feed it to you […] The man looked like a deer in headlights.”
David insisted that Fleishman and the other elected officials in the room were lying about what he had said.
Although David was arrested in conjunction with the alleged incident, charges against him were later dropped after Fleishman said he no longer wanted to proceed with the case. Fleishman’s brother was hired as a county employee two weeks later.
– 2011 –
After being fired as County Solicitor by the Board of Commissioners, attorney Myron Sainovich is hired by Sheriff George David to acts as his Solicitor.
Myron Sainovich was eventually sued by the Board of Commissioners and Controller David Rossi for illegally billing taxpayers to perform jail arbitration work back in 2006, even though he was already being paid a salary as County Solicitor. Sainovich lost his battle to hold onto the money after appealing the lawsuit all the way up to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.
– 2012 –
Beaver County Central Services Director Mary Ann Ruskin files a complaint against Sheriff George David with the county’s Human Resources Department. Ruskin alleged that Sheriff David became enraged during the meeting (where she exposed that David had allegedly been involved in bid fixing), and he had become threatening towards her. The incident was witnessed by the Board of Commissioners and the County’s Law Department.
A mediator called to look into Ruskin’s claims determined they were unfounded. An investigation by the Beaver Countian showed the only witnesses the mediator spoke to were David’s own Deputies. The Board of Commissioners and the County’s Solicitors were never questioned about what they had witnessed during David’s alleged tirade.
Mary Ann Ruskin was later laid off by the county. She then filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging she was removed from her position due to retaliation for speaking out against Sheriff David. Although all of the Beaver County Judges had previously recused themselves from hearing any cases involving County Commissioners, President Judge John D. McBride decides to preside over Mary Ann Ruskin’s lawsuit, subsequently dismissing it in its entirety. Judge McBride ruled that Commissioners had a right to remove Ruskin to help cut costs in the budget.
After the lawsuit was dismissed, the Board of Commissioners, at the recommendation of Chief of Staff Vince LaValle, hires another full-time employee to bring Central Services back up to three full-time positions.
– 2012 –
Sheriff George David moves the Sheriff Sales Listings from the Beaver County Times to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, costing the paper six figures in advertising revenue. Investigative reporting by the Beaver Countian later revealed the move to be a plot by George David and Ambridge Police Chief Jimmy Mann to retaliate against the paper for negative reporting about the Sheriff’s Office.
The Beaver County Times silenced political reporter JD Prose and ceased much of its coverage of the Sheriff’s Office following the move and subsequent meetings with David.
Reporting by the Beaver Countian showed that David had illegally entered into the advertising contract with the Post Gazette, as Pennsylvania County Code dictates only the Board of Commissioners can enter into such contracts.
– 2012 –
During a meeting with the Beaver Countian in his office on April 16th, Sheriff David pulls out his handgun and threatens to murder Beaver County Prothonotary Nancy Werme, Beaver County Times Reporter JD Prose, and Beaver Countian reporter John Paul. George David’s threats are witnessed by two of his deputies, who both originally lied to the Pennsylvania State Police about the incident before finally admitting the Sheriff had pulled his weapon during a tirade.
George David is arrested one year later (his third time being arrested), following a lengthy investigation by a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury.
Sheriff David was placed on house arrest while awaiting trial after a judge ruled he had violated conditions of his bond by racking a shotgun in the basement of the courthouse.
A judge dismissed charges of reckless endangerment against David at trial saying the prosecution failed to prove his service revolver was loaded at the time of the incident. A jury acquitted him of the remaining charges after he took the stand in his own defense and repeatedly lied under oath about the incident to create reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors.
– 2012 –
Sheriff David “fires” the Board of Commissioners as Deputies. A previous investigative report by the Beaver Countian had uncovered that David had illegally had the Commissioners sworn in as Sheriff’s Deputies in violation of Pennsylvania County Code.
“George came to me and asked me to become a deputy” Republican Commissioner Dennis Nichols told the Beaver Countian. “He joked that he’d be able to order me around.”
– 2012 –
Sheriff David and his solicitor Myron Sainovich organize a group of bikers to show up to a meeting of the County Commissioners to express their support for him.
The gathering becomes abusing after the meeting with David’s supporters swearing, threatening, pushing, and knocking a smartphone being used to record the event to the ground, leading the Beaver Countian’s John Paul to lock himself in an office for safety and call 911 for help.
– 2013 –
Uniform pants purportedly belonging to the late Aliquippa Police Chief William F. Alston Jr. are spread on the wall of a room used by the Sheriff’s Office, where deputies are regularly heard using racial slurs to chastise an African American man who once ran against George David for Sheriff.
– 2013 –
A judge from Erie County determines that Sheriff George David had been violating state law by ordering his Deputies to perform security services for private corporations.
George David had pleaded his Fifth Amendment Rights against self incrimination during proceedings held in a lawsuit filed against him by the Beaver County Board of Commissioners, who were attempting to stop David from violating the state statute.
– 2013 –
County Officials say Sheriff David bypassed the county’s entire emergency response apparatus during his handling of an alleged incident at Friendship Ridge, and say they feared lives may have been placed at risk as a result.
An investigation by the Beaver Countian showed that the incident at Friendship Ridge never actually took place, and that one of Sheriff David’s Deputies had filed a materially false Affidavit of Probable Cause against a destitute African American man who was the alleged perpetrator. An investigation by Beaver County Detectives confirmed the Beaver Countian’s findings, and District Attorney Tony Berosh dropped the charges against the man David’s men had arrested.
Deputy John Joe Fratangeli was never charged with filing the false report. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant by Sheriff David.
See: Woman At Friendship Ridge Claims Deputies Never Even Interviewed Her
See: Serious Questions About Sheriff David’s Account Of Events At Friendship Ridge
See: District Attorney: This Case Has Almost Reached Mythical Proportions
See: Sheriff David Promotes Deputy Who Filed False Affidavit To Lieutenant
See: Sheriff David Hires Crony From Friendship Ridge Controversy
See: Editorial: Two Years Later, District Attorney Berosh Continues To Protect Corrupt Sheriff’s Deputy
– 2013 –
A video secretly recorded in the Sheriff’s Office showed Sheriff George David violating a state statute by illegally giving away a free gun permit to a man who offered to testify as a character witness for him. An audit later conducted by the Beaver County Controller’s Office showed David had given away hundreds of free and discounted permits to his family, friends, and political cronies.
George David was never charged for violating the state law.
See: Secretly Recorded Video May Show Sheriff David Violating Warnings By State Auditors
See: Editorial: Sheriff George David Lies To Investigators About Gun Permit Incident
See: Audit Shows Sheriff David’s Illegal Gun Permit Discounts Cost Taxpayers Over $13,000
See: Op-Ed: Thoughts On Sheriff David – or – A Little Bit Of Tyranny Is A Little Bit Too Much
– 2013 –
A long time employee of the Sheriff’s Office abruptly retires after she said Sheriff David tried to get her to lie about one of the secretaries in his office. Sergeant Donna Knopp said David attempted to get her to lie about a series of events involving Stephanie Guidice.
An investigation into Stephanie Guidice by the Beaver County Detectives as a result of allegations made by Sheriff David, showed his accusations against her were false.
See: Longtime Deputy: I Will Not Lie For Sheriff George David
See: District Attorney Threatened To Read Sheriff His Miranda Rights At Meeting With Commissioners
See: Revealed: Man Who Recorded Sheriff Has Been Cooperating With State Authorities For Weeks
See: District Attorney Concludes Investigation Into Alleged Sources For The Beaver Countian
– 2013 –
A Beaver Count Judge determined Sheriff David violated a man’s Constitutional rights by denying him due process when revoking his concealed carry permit.
An investigation conducted by the Beaver Countian showed that David may have illegally denied concealed carry permits to hundreds of individuals who had applied.
– 2013 –
Sheriff David’s brother Morry ambushed outside of his home and robbed of thousands of dollars he was carrying in a bag along with what sources described as his “books.” The bag was later found by police burning on a street in Aliquippa. The money was not recovered. Morry David is said to have suffered several lacerations as a result of the attack.
– 2013 –
Federal Agents raid the offices of Dr. Simmon Wilcox. The office building where Wilcox was located is owned by George David’s brother Morry, who previously had other business dealings with Simmon Wilcox.
Morry David watched with Wilcox’s brother as federal agents carried boxes of materials out of the building.
Wilcox was the doctor for the Beaver County Jail during the same time that George David served as head of security for the facility.
See: Federal Agents Raid Building In Center Township
See: Federal Agents Believe Center Twp Dr Simmon Wilcox Was Involved In A Drug Scheme
See: New Details As Former Center Twp Doctor Simmon Wilcox Awaits November Trial On Drug Charges
– 2014 –
A group of 5 secretaries in the Sheriff’s Office submit written statements to the County Solicitor’s Office complaining they are being mistreated by Sheriff George David. Among the allegations, the secretaries alleged that David falsely accused them of wrongdoings, unjustly disciplined them, failed to discipline others who have mistreated them, screamed at them in fits of rage, and used degrading and derogatory language to demean them.
George David denied all of the secretaries’ accusations.
– 2014 –
Sheriff David recruits his long-time friend and political ally Bobby Williams to run for Aliquippa City Council. An investigation by the Beaver Countian showed that Williams was actually a resident of Center Township, and he had lied on his nominating papers filed with the Bureau of Elections.
Williams was subsequently charged with perjury under the election code.
After refusing to accept a plea agreement offered by prosecutors that would have seen him serve a period of probation, Williams was subsequently convicted at trial. Beaver County Judge Harry Knafelc ruled that Williams would face no punishment as a result of his conviction — no confinement, no probation, no fine. Williams had faced a possibility of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
See: Investigative Report: Man Running For City Council May Live Elsewhere
See: Aliquippa Residents File Lawsuit To Keep Bobby Williams Off Ballot
See: Sheriff David Allows Criminal Defendant To Bypass Security While Visiting The Courthouse
See: Former Candidate For Aliquippa City Council Convicted Of Perjury
See: Photo: Perjurers For George David And John Joe Fratangeli
– 2015 –
In an attempt to retaliate against Democratic County Controller David Rossi for audits which helped to expose or confirm wrongdoing by Democratic Sheriff George David, the Sheriff recruits a Republican to run against him. Local boxer Josh Himes drops out of the race just days after the Beaver Countian exposed his ties to David.
– 2015 –
After teaming with Dirk Goodwald, a Democratic candidate for District Attorney, Sheriff George David’s bid for reelection is endorsed by the Democratic Committee of Beaver County.
Commissioners Tony Amadio and Joe Spanik, Controller David Rossi, Prothonotary Nancy Werme, Register of Wills candidate Tracy Patton, and Democratic Party Chairman Michael “Doc” Sisk (also a candidate for Coroner), all officially renounced the Democratic endorsements they received, saying they could not in good conscience run as part of a ticket that included George David for Sheriff, or people who have been supporting David including District Attorney candidate Dirk Goodwald.
The divide leads the entire Democratic Committee to collapse and go on hiatus through the 2015 election cycle.
– 2015 –
Beaver resident Bronson Waite writes a letter to the County Board of Commissioners complaining about the way he was treated by Sheriff David while applying for a gun permit.
“The Sheriff of the county along with the clerk there were all very rude. The Sheriff was actually yelling at me,” wrote Waite. “I am a full adult and have not been yelled at like that by even my own father. I would not be writing this if I felt like he was being fair. I will admit I had questionable attitude but this is the 5th hoop I’ve had to jump through in order to acquire my permit […] I felt my level of frustration was justifiable given the attitude of the employees there and I feel that even the Sheriff of Beaver County does not have the right to yell at me like an 8 year old or deny me the right to carry the firearm that the state already approved.”