State police investigating Cecil police department’s special account
State police are investigating discrepancies in a special equitable sharing account set up within the Cecil Township police department, a municipal official acknowledged May 10.
Township Manager Don Gennuso said state police investigators contacted Cecil’s solicitor, John Smith, on May 6 and plan to “follow up” later with Gennuso about the probe.
“I know there is still an ongoing investigation,” Gennuso said. “We are participating however we have to.”
The revelation comes after Cecil Township rejected a right-to-know request for it to make public an audit and report on the account on grounds that the documents contain information regarding an ongoing criminal investigation.
Township officials notified the Observer-Reporter on May 9 they would not release the independent audit into the police department’s equitable sharing account, nor would they make public the report on former chief John Pushak that led to his abrupt resignation. Cecil Township supervisors accepted Pushak’s resignation as police chief April 1 after he was placed on administrative leave in February. Pushak served in the department for 38 years.
The township denied the right-to-know request, in part, because it “seeks records relating to a criminal investigation” that contains confidential information which “would deprive a person of the right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication.” It also cited confidential records involved in a noncriminal investigation and client-attorney privileges.
State police Lt. Paul Radatovich, head of Troop B’s criminal investigations unit, did not know which division within the department was leading the probe.
The audit of the police department’s equitable sharing account, established in 2009, was conducted by the accounting firm of Cypher and Cypher. Money in the account was supposed to be used for sting operations and to purchase equipment. However, the audit uncovered some discrepancies under $10,000 involving unauthorized deposits and withdrawals for extra duty expenses.
Cecil’s new police chief, Shawn Bukovinsky, said at the township’s May 6 meeting that the department was cooperating with the Washington County district attorney’s office in cataloguing the inventory in the department’s evidence room. He said two of his officers are taking the lead in the check.
District Attorney Gene Vittone did not return a call seeking comment on the inventory check or investigation into the department’s special account.