The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) will be sending a team of investigators from its Human Resources Office into Beaver County next week to investigate allegations made against the county’s Domestic Relations Director. Multiple independent sources tell the Beaver Countian that some of Beaver County’s Common Pleas Judges have been at odds over the controversial Director for years, and say those tensions rekindled after this publication released an investigative report about the man in early April.

Sources tell the Beaver Countian that AOPC investigators will be looking into allegations levied against Domestic Relations Director Joseph Signore by courthouse employees. Investigators are also expected to be making inquiries about alleged failures by County Court Administrator Richard Defilippi and Beaver County President Judge John D. McBride to take meaningful action in response to those complaints made in recent years.

The Domestics Relations Office is a branch of the Court of Common Pleas which enforces court orders relating to spousal and child support.

“I know of complaints about Joe [Signore]’s behavior that several women made and those complaints all fell on deaf ears,” said one courthouse employee. “It’s the good ol’ boys club and we’re not members.”

This publication is not identifying any of its sources by name, many of whom say they have fears of being retaliated against. Several courthouse employees described multiple complaints made by female employees against Joseph Signore through the years alleging degrading and misogynistic treatment.

In an interview with the Beaver Countian earlier this month, Signore spoke of what he called the difficulties of managing an office comprised of a majority of female employees. “My office, it’s got 26 women in it so that’s a balancing act,” he said at the time, “but I was raised with six sisters so I understand it.”

AOPC’s state investigators are scheduled to conduct interviews of court officials and employees on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Sources tell the Beaver Countian that among those set to be interviewed include President Judge John McBride and Judge Deborah Kunselman.

Multiple sources have independently told the Beaver Countian about heated confrontations between Judges McBride and Kunselman following the Beaver Countian’s latest report. Sources say Judge Kunselman — the county’s first and only woman judge — chastised President Judge McBride for what she views as his repeated failures to take action against Director Signore or even to have the accusations properly investigated.

“I heard it time and time again that [Court Administrator] Defilippi, [Domestic Relations Director] Signore and [President Judge] McBride all plan to retire at the same time when McBride’s time is up,” said another courthouse employee. “I don’t see anyone doing anything to change that unless they’re forced to.”

County Commissioners have also received complaints about Joseph Signore’s absences from his office and about his behavior when he is there. The county’s law department researched what actions the Board of Commissioners could possibly take against him if deemed warranted, ultimately determining they do not have the legal authority to discipline or terminate him. Although Signore is a county employee, provisions of Pennsylvania law preclude County Commissioners from taking any employment action against him, something which can only be done locally by the Court Administrator and President Judge. The prohibitions are based on a separation-of-powers doctrine which provides checks and balances on power by establishing independent branches of government, including the judiciary.

The Beaver Countian’s investigative report published on April 7th detailed some of Signore’s absences during the workday and revealed Court Administrator Richard Defilippi provided false information on county time cards, allowing the Domestic Relations Director to be paid for an extra week’s vacation last year. The investigation also uncovered evidence which bolstered claims by courthouse employees that Defilippi and Signore had taken trips together to a casino during the workday (following the Beaver Countian’s report, Director Signore changed the vanity “Signore” license plate on his vehicle to a standard-issue one not as easily recognizable).

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts is overseen by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which has ultimate administrative authority over the entire court system and all of its personnel.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Robert Miller
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Robert Miller

About time someone looks into them crooks. Sure they lined their pockets with other fathers money.

Don't get railroaded
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Don't get railroaded

Wow!!! A balancing act. If Donald Trump would have said those negative things about women, the Demoturds would be screaming. First, the Honorable John McBride is an old washed up fossil who should retire and spend some time comparing Cemetary plots instead of covering for his boys. He diminishes a distinguished career doing so. It’s a game that these fucktards play. They are arrogant little twits who could not survive doing an honest day’s work. I hope and pray these libitards get exposed. It’s always a one way street with these disgusting pieces of dog dung. GET A FUCKING JOB ASSHOLES. Take the gutless spineless District Attorney with you. That’s the next investigation. He obviously did not promote on merit. More like in “performance” question is; what kind or performance did he evaluate? I am so tired of this counties bull shit. Hey Mr DA, stop interrupting preliminary hearings. You are not very well versed in criminal law dumb ass.

Fred Sams
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Fred Sams

Time for heads to roll

Becky
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Becky

Why is it that this publication continues to slander the people in charge at the courthouse, but not the employees? Is there a problem with authority figures in your life? I don’t know Judge McBride or Joseph Signore personally, but I have had the opportunity to watch both of them in their jobs. They were professional, fair, and courteous, and got the job done that they are paid to do! I am a woman and I work with 12 other women and I can tell you it isn’t easy…..they are backstabbing, gossiping, moody creatures and they know it! And was it really professional of you to say he had his vanity plate changed?! I would too if I thought some moron was following me! It’s been over 10 years since I’ve seen either of these men, so unless something has drastically changed in their lives, I think the problem may be with the cackling hens in the courthouse! Maybe you could follow several of them around!

James t kirk
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James t kirk

Not really sure what the artical has to do with the DA’s office. Maybe people just aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. Always gotta be creating drama