Cambria County officials are asking for the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission to investigate the chairman of the Cambria County War Memorial Authority Board.
The county’s solicitor, William Barbin, sent a letter asking the commission to look into financial arrangements between the chair, Dean Gindlesperger, and SMG, the facility manager of 1st Summit Arena @ the Cambria County War Memorial.
County commissioners received a tip that SMG was paying Gindlesperger $600 a month to store arena equipment and that SMG also had an advertising contract with Gindlesperger’s son.
“I’m not sure that there is a violation of state ethics law, but I’d rather have the state ethics commission answer that question rather than myself,” Barbin said.
Gindlesperger said he didn’t know about the contract with his son and that he stored the equipment at a discounted rate to save taxpayers money.
Barbin said Gindlesperger’s actions could be unethical if he didn’t inform the board of his personal ties and didn’t abstain from voting on those contracts.
“They’re required by law to declare their interests publicly, file a written memorandum of their conflict of interest and then abstain from voting. That’s what Pennsylvania ethics law requires of a public official. I don’t know if all those steps were taken or not,” said Barbin.
Gindlesperger said he was not aware he did anything wrong.
“I don’t work for the government. I’m not a politician. I don’t know these rules and regulations. I’ll be the first to admit that. If I made a mistake, it will be corrected. I’m not going to run away from it,” Gindlesperger said.
Barbin said the county should hear back from the ethics commission in a couple of weeks. If the commission does move forward, an investigation could take up to three months.
Gindlesperger’s term ends at the end of this year. The commissioners said they will hold off re-appointing Gindlesperger as the chairman until the ethics commission reaches a decision.
“Important questions and concerns were raised. The commissioners referred it to our solicitor. It was decided that we would refer the questions and concerns to the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission,” said President Commissioner Tom Chernisky in a statement. “A determination will be made after the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission comes to a conclusion.”