After Pittsburgh's mayor came under scrutiny during a federal criminal grand jury probe into his administration, WTAE-TV investigative reporter Bofta Yimam requested Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's work calendar for a one-year period. The federal investigation led to the mayor's hand-picked police chief to plead guilty to conspiracy and fraud. Through the official calendar, we hoped to learn more about the mayor's comings and goings during the period federal investigators are examining. The city, however, denied our request. Our series of ongoing reports showed the difficulty in accessing a public official's calendar in Pennsylvania and highlighted the need for transparency. Through the state's Right to Know law, we filed an appeal and won a decision with the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records. Instead of turning over the records, however, the city Law Department filed a lawsuit against Yimam in the Court of Common Pleas. Now, taxpayers will pay for a court case to keep a calendar private, for a mayor who is under federal investigation and who chose not to run for re-election.
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