Thursday, October 9, 2008
The former head of the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority has been cleared by the State Ethics Commission. In a letter dated September 25, the Commission said that the theater sound system that Ford received from an executive at Lamar Advertising did not meet the $250 threshold and therefore did not need to be reported. The panel said the gift was valued at $215. Ford took a paid leave of absence for 4 months following the disclosure of the gift and information that he helped Lamar get a permit for a digital billboard in downtown Pittsburgh bypassing the usual hearing and voting process. Lamar later agreed to resubmit its application for a permit. Ford resigned his post in August after the U-R-A agreed pay him $90,000 in salary and benefits for the final 4 months of his $117,000 a year contract. Ford's attorney Lawrence Fisher says the Commission's decision validates his client's ethical integrity.