Lamar Advertising Still Embroiled in Pittsburgh Ethics Scandal

Last Updated Jan 1, 2009 6:18 PM EST

Lamar Advertising is linked to a probe of Pittsburgh's former development chief, a public official who was discovered to have received 2007 Christmas gifts from the company, including a surround-sound system.lamarlogo1.gif The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a proposed Lamar electronic billboard in the city's downtown was nixed last month by city officials. Initially, Lamar had received a no-bid lease and a permit from zoning officials for the board without a public hearing. Details on the permit rejection can be found here.

Those permits were reversed after it emerged in April that the development official, Urban Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Pat Ford, had received the gifts from Lamar. Ford resigned from his position but a State Ethics Commission panel found no evidence that he violated the state's ethics act.

Now the Tribune-Review reports that Ford is refusing to cooperate with a probe into how an engineering firm won a lucrative contract and how the development authorities lent money to another developer who whose properties were foreclosed upon. That developer has now disappeared to Brazil.

You can get more of the back story here, including the info that Lamar sued the city council alleging they conspired against the billboard.

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