Leetsdale’s and councilman violated the state Ethics Act and must now reimburse the municipality $1,078.03, the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission announced Tuesday in a final ruling.
According to the commission report, Paul Scimio abused his authority as a Leetsdale councilman when he used a borough-issued credit card to charge meals for himself and other borough employees. The expenses were considered "personal in nature under the guise of borough business," commission findings said.
The commission reports that around June 2008, the borough obtained a Citizen Bank credit line and provided credit cards to Scimio and other council members for convenience related to purchasing needed items, for travel expenses and other necessities.
But the commission said Scimio never received prior approval from council when he arranged a special Christmas appreciation dinner for the police department in 2008 at Ichiban Steakhouse in Robinson Township and used his borough-issued credit card to pay for the $498.72 bill. The party was attended by six people, including Scimio, the report said.
The following year, Scimio authorized another Christmas appreciation at Ichiban, where a total of $579.31 was spent on dinner, drinks and take-out for nine people, according to the report.
Scimio later voted to approve the list of bills that included the expenses, the report states.
Scimio has agreed to reimburse the $1,078.03 to Leetsdale within 30 days as part of a consent agreement, the commission said.
Under the agreement, he has also agreed not to seek or hold public office or a public employment position in Pennsylvania for five years, the commission said.
Scimio could not immediately be reached for comment.
The ethics commission investigated borough records from January 2006 through July 2010 after receiving complaints from a .
The state Ethics Commission found that Scimio did not abuse his authority as councilman in order to gain the position of borough manager on Aug. 12, 2010.
Scimio was relieved from his duties as borough mananger on Jan. 3 when the new voted to dissolve the position.
Council no longer issues credit cards to employees or elected officials and now requires receipts for purchases and .