The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 25, 2013

Redevelopment Authority's executive director fired

JOHNSTOWN — The longtime executive director for Johnstown Redevelopment Authority has been fired because he allegedly accepted more than $130,000 in outside consulting fees while working on the former Greater Johnstown Tech Park development.

Ron Repak’s termination became official Monday during a special meeting of the five-member authority board. The resignation of Deborah Walter, administrative assistant, also was accepted during the special meeting.

The two, along with board secretary Lisa Wirfel, have been on administrative leave, with full pay and benefits, since Feb. 13.

Wirfel’s employment status was not addressed Monday.

Although no criminal charges have been filed, authority leaders said federal and state investigations are continuing.

The former tech park, now Conemaugh Medical Park, is a joint project by the redevelopment authority and Conemaugh Health System. Repak is accused of billing Conemaugh through a company he called Diversified Development Technologies while still collecting his salary from the redevelopment authority.

Authority Solicitor William G. Barbin told reporters the “double dipping” violated an ethics agreement Repak had with the authority.

Conemaugh’s part in the tech park project was spearheaded by Robert Gleason Jr., who served as chairman of the health system’s subsidiary Conemaugh Enterprises. Gleason said Monday he was not aware of the allegations and referred questions to Conemaugh.

“I pushed the concept, along with (former Conemaugh CEO) Richard Salluzzo,” Gleason said. “I was not involved in the details.”

A spokeswoman said the health system would not comment because it is a legal matter.

Repak, 60, was named executive director in January 1983 following the resignation of T. Fred Young amidst controversy alleging mishandling of flood-recovery funds.

Three members of the authority board also resigned.

Nine people, including the former board chairman Robert Audey, later pleaded guilty in the flood bid-rigging scandal.

Repak joined the authority in 1978 and held titles of real estate manager and project manager before being named executive director.

Frank D’Ettorre was named acting executive director when Repak was placed on administrative leave. There has been no action on selecting a permanent replacement.

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