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Former head of Johnstown Redevelopment Authority indicted on bribery, extortion charges

By: Marc Stempka

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The former head of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has been indicted by a federal grand jury on bribery and extortion charges.

Ronald Repak, 62, of Johnstown, was indicted on six counts Tuesday by federal prosecutors with the Western District of Pennsylvania U.S. Attorneys Office, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said.

Repak was fired from the JRA in February 2013.

According to the indictment, while serving as executive director of the JRA, Repak engaged in conduct in violation of the Hobbs Act for extortion under color of official right, and engaged in multiple acts of federal program bribery."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INDICTMENT

Hickton said in exchange for Repaks official actions and influence as the executive director of the authority, he solicited local contractors to build a new roof for his Richland Township home, building demolition and other services at Evolution Gym and multiple Pittsburgh Steelers football tickets.

Evolution Gym is Repaks sons privately-owned business. The contractors involved in the work were not named.

Hickton said Repak could face up to 90 years in prison, a fine of $1.5 million, or both.

The board fired Repak after it was discovered he billed Conemaugh Health Systems more than $130,000 for work that was being done at the Johnstown Tech Park in the city's Kernville section.

The board said Repak created a fake company, Diversified Development Technologies, and billed the hospital under that name from 2004 to 2007.

The board terminated Repak, stating that he violated a resolution passed by the JRA in 2000, where those involved with the JRA were prohibited from dealing with outside work and if so, were ethically required to report the work.

Redevelopment Authority Chairman Msgr. Raymond Balta said in February Repak was essentially double-dipping.

"Work that he was doing as a JRA director and was billing the tech park project for the same work so we feel he was double dipping while he was being paid by us he was also invoicing them," Balta said.

At the time Repak was fired, the JRA said they were aware of an investigation for two years, but didnt take any action against him because they didnt want to hinder the investigation.

The investigation into Repak began after Conemaugh approached the JRA. The FBI got involved in 2011.

Redevelopment authority Secretary Deb Walter resigned from her job days before Repak was fired.

The Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the FBI conducted the investigation that led to Repaks federal prosecution, Hickton said.

6 News will have continuing coverage of the indictment beginning on 6 News at 5.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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