Category Archives: Panther Hollow

Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow

To: Councilman Bruce A. Kraus,
Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC) Executive Director Wanda Wilson,
among others.

Rhetorical question: Should there be a criminal investigation into the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow?

Duquesne Light is rapidly moving forward with the construction of this massive project on Schenley Park property, without any in-depth, comprehensive environmental and health studies, as to how the project will impact residents of our small community, especially the elderly. Both of you have a fiduciary duty to our community, yet you seem to be relying blindly only on the word of this company’s engineers that there are no problems.

According to Duquesne Light, the project is under the full jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. Is this true? A commission hearing was held that gave Duquesne Light permission to move forward with this project. However, neither myself nor any other resident of our neighborhood that I am aware of received notice of this crucial hearing. If either of you attended, you did not let our community know what concerns, if any, you raised on our behalf. Neither of you provided our community with minutes of the hearing. Please do so.

A meeting for this neighborhood-changing project was held Monday, January 6. I received notice by an OPDC email on Friday, January 3. If a workweek can be considered as Monday through Friday, then I and others received notice of this important meeting only one day before. Also, three meetings about this project were held in late October/early November. I do not have records of notices for those meetings. Please have your offices provide me with records of those email notices. In addition, where are all of the minutes for these three meetings, not just those of November 7 that were contained in the January 3 email?

Duquesne Light representatives mentioned in the November 7 minutes that this project is necessary because institutions are planning major new developments, and they are preparing for this growth. If you read closely between the lines, and beyond the lines, of these minutes, you will come to understand that this project is an indictment of OPDC, the Pittsburgh City Council, Mayor William Peduto, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment, as well as the office of District Attorney Stephen Zappala and the media of Pittsburgh.

Duquesne Light executives know full well, beyond any doubt, that none of the above have the courage to protect and preserve our community, by the fact that the above are not even attempting to stop the uncontrolled expansion of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and their supporters. Although they will not say it explicitly and publicly, they know the above are puppets of university administrators and their supporters. Therefore, Duquesne Light executives are moving forward quickly and confidently with their plans, feeding the cancerous expansion in Oakland.

Both of you have allowed, and are continuing to allow, the further destruction of Oakland by showing zero support for a moratorium on construction in Oakland, or for a comprehensive, in-depth Neighborhood Impact Study as to how Pitt’s Institutional Master Plan will affect not only Panther Hollow, but all of greater Oakland now and for generations to come.

This massive, disruptive substation is basically only for satisfying the needs and wants of the universities and their supporters, not for satisfying the needs and wants of our residential community.

Perhaps the rhetorical question at the beginning of this letter should be made declaratory: There should be a criminal investigation into the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow.

Carlino Giampolo
January 8, 2020

Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation
in Panther Hollow – Follow Up

To: Councilman Bruce A. Kraus,
Oakland Planning and Development Director Wanda Wilson

This letter is a follow-up of the one sent to both of you on January 8, 2020, the contents of which are on the website Link 100, and on the front page of A companion website on the historical significance of our neighborhood is at

Is it true, as Duquesne Light Company (DLC) executives have asserted, that the residents of Panther Hollow, the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC), and the city of Pittsburgh, cannot stop the construction of the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation because the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has already granted the company permission to build the substation? Are all of us rendered virtually meaningless because the DLC has autonomous authority to proceed with this project?

The burden of an investigation about this project should not be placed upon the residents of our community.  What actions have either of you taken to protect the health and rights of the residents of Panther Hollow?

Has the city’s legal department obtained all of the records of the meetings for this project attended by the past administrators of Duquesne Light President Richard Riazzi, the current administrators of President Steven Malnight, and the administrators of Pitt and CMU?

What no one in our community knows yet is if the uncontrolled expansions of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and their supporters have already outstripped the electrical infrastructure in Oakland. Is this project also necessary for the present electrical needs of these universities and their supporters, and not just for their future electrical needs as DLC administrators have stated?

Has the city’s legal department uncovered any actions or omissions by DLC that violated any laws concerning this project? If so, are there any actions or omissions by DLC that warrant the involvement of District Attorney Stephen Zappala?

Has OPDC contacted Representative Dan Frankel, or any other state representatives or senators, for assistance in protecting the health and rights of our community? Has OPDC taken any actions at all to protect the health and rights of our community?

We are all aware that this project is basically for the benefit of Pitt, CMU, and the developers and others who support these universities. This project is not for the benefit and needs of the residents of Oakland. For the past decades, the host community of Oakland has been decimated enough for the benefit of these universities and their supporters. There has never been an in-depth investigation of these universities and their supporters concerning their uncontrolled expansions, and the resultant destructive impacts upon Oakland. This has been an ongoing tragedy!

Our actions in the past 12 years have never been due to any hatred for the universities or their supporters. Rather, our actions have been done to protect and preserve our neighborhood now, and for future generations, as well as to honor the legacy of those who came before us to make Oakland one of the most eclectic residential neighborhoods in all of Pittsburgh.

DLC has already assembled heavy construction equipment on their property. Both of you have a fiduciary duty to our community to provide us the full truth of how this project will impact our lives, as well as a duty to disclose fully how this project was initiated and processed. Actions to stop this project until the full truth of this project is revealed is urgently needed NOW.  Anything less would be a breach of these duties.

Carlino Giampolo
January 26, 2020

Note: There has been no response to the above two letters concerning the Duquesne Light Riazzi Substation in Panther Hollow.

Supporting the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow?

The following was sent on December 11, 2019 to Council President Bruce Kraus
and members of the Pittsburgh City Council, among others.
(The Mon-Oakland Connector was previously called the Oakland Transit Connector.)

President Bruce Kraus
Pittsburgh City Council

Councilman Kraus

You have “sat on the fence” and “weighed both sides” for the past four and a half years concerning whether or not you support the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow.

You are fully aware of the vast amounts of information on the websites and, and the numerous communications from those individuals and organizations who are in solidarity with us in standing firm against any roadway through our neighborhood. You are also aware of the ample information provided by the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Hazelwood Green foundation owners, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, and their supporters who want a roadway through our neighborhood.

You have comprehended, interpreted, discerned, assessed, inferred, and placed an appreciation and valuation on your understanding of this information. Our community is now asking that you move forward without any doubts by giving us your position of whether or not you support the Mon-Oakland Connector through Panther Hollow.

Your decision can be facilitated and simplified by taking one of these two positions: Do you support the protection and preservation of historic Panther Hollow, as well as honor both the dignity of the residents and the legacy of their ancestors? Or do you advocate for the decimation of historic Panther Hollow by supporting the roadway with the resultant massive expansion by Pitt, CMU, and developers, among others?

We await your honest response.

Thank you
Carlino Giampolo

Bruce Kraus has not responded.

The Lack of Integrity Continues…

There has been no response to the following two emails. Both men have chosen not to be transparent.

August 6, 2019
President Farnam Jahanian
Carnegie Mellon University

Please read my email below to Adjunct Instructor Ray Gastil, former City Director of Planning. He has once again chosen silence. This email attests to the fact that we follow through on our word.

We are requesting your assistance to kindly ask Mr. Gastil to respond to a simple question that our communities deserve to have answered. We are making this appeal to your integrity and character. At the end of your tenure, when you look back upon the decisions you made as president, this may be one of your defining moments.

You cannot escape your responsibility for this roadway plan that would eventually destroy the neighborhoods of Panther Hollow and The Run. This plan is reminiscent of the destructive 1963 plans of then University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield who sought to destroy our two neighborhoods with a futuristic 21st Century Research Park. Our communities prevailed, yet Pitt went on to achieve 10th in the nation in accumulating research funds even without these plans. In like manner, there are other ways to achieve your goals at Hazelwood Green without this destructive roadway through our two neighborhoods.

Our communities will continue to be seekers of truth to protect and preserve our heritage. You could take the path of Mr. Gastil and remain silent. If so, our communities will definitely take future actions on this matter that will be determined by the course of events.

However, I trust your grace and dignity will lead you to realize that choosing silence, or participating in actions that will destroy our two communities, is not the right path in life.

I look forward to your response to the appeal of our communities.

Carlino Giampolo

July 31, 2019
Ray Gastil
Adjunct Instructor – Staff Appointment

Mr. Gastil

You have been involved with the Mon-Oakland Connector (previously called Oakland Transit Connector) since its very inception. As Director of City Planning, you wrote a letter of support for its implementation to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

In the past, our community had asked you questions about your involvement, and you had chosen silence. That silence must end.

At the first community meeting for this project, you gave a presentation and mentioned that the roadway from Almono (now called Hazelwood Green), through The Run and Panther Hollow, to Pitt and CMU, would traverse through the back end of the University of Pittsburgh’s parking lot in Panther Hollow. The entire meeting was videotaped.

Our community needs the following question answered truthfully:

Who at the University of Pittsburgh, or at the City of Pittsburgh, told you that the roadway could traverse through the back end of the University of Pittsburgh’s parking lot in Panther Hollow?

Our community deserves an answer and will not accept silence. The question should be easy to answer. If you choose silence by August 5, then we will ask CMU President Farnam Jahanian for assistance to have the question answered.

Carlino Giampolo

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods – July 21, 2019

By Carlino Giampolo
Panther Hollow

2nd Annual March from Panther Hollow to The Run

I want to thank the residents of Panther Hollow and The Run and our supporters here today, for having the courage and confidence to publicly demonstrate your desire to protect and preserve our two neighborhoods from those who seek to destroy them with an ill-conceived roadway plan. We will continue to take the high road by putting our values, ideals, and principles into action, and knowing that the means to an end is more important than the end itself.

These actions will continue to be taken with wisdom. There are those who believe a person is wise based on one’s I.Q., the number of letters after one’s name, one’s accumulation of wealth, or the position one holds in the workplace. This is the general consensus of society. However, there is another characterization that says wisdom is:

1) Moving beyond logic and reason without abandoning them.

2) Being a bit irrational without losing sight of the rational.

3) Looking at where you are going more than where you are coming from or where you have been.

4) Looking to where something can lead you more than what it can get you.

5) Looking to see what you can learn more than what you can reaffirm.

6) Seeing the symbols and metaphors, and looking in and beyond them to find the value that lies in their meaning and significance.

7) Seeing the bigger picture without losing sight of the current picture.

That last tenet reminds us that the bigger picture of our problem is that of the uncontrolled expansion of the University of Pittsburgh that is threatening our two communities. Most of us know the story of Pitt’s past chancellor, Edward Litchfield, who sought to destroy our neighborhoods in 1963 with his ill-conceived 21st Century Research Park. Our parents’ generation succeeded in defeating Litchfield. This story is on the website:

However, that destructive consciousness still exists today at the university. Our generation is now willing to take on the mantle of being free from that destructive consciousness which threatens our two neighborhoods, as well as being free to create a new consciousness at the university that respects our dignity and the right to determine how we are going to live. In the near future, when there is a call to action to support these freedoms, I trust each of you will respond in a positive way.

Oftentimes when individuals dream impossible dreams, think out of the box, or attempt to embark on a journey against insurmountable odds, they are characterized as crazy or “not all there”. There are some who think all of us are crazy or “not all there” for even attempting to triumph over the two largest universities in our city, the three largest foundations, the city government with its vast resources, as well as all the friends and supporters of these entities. So, in the words of the country and western song: We’re all here cause we’re not all there.

We are going to continue to be wise and crazy, and to move forward to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.

As we did one year ago, we are once again taking a stand to let city, university, and foundation leaders, as well as their supporters who want a roadway through our two neighborhoods, know that they will never take away our dignity, diminish our intensity, shackle our freedom, or break our spirit. They will never silence the voice of our soul.

We will triumph. There will be no roadway through Panther Hollow and The Run.

City Council Public Comments

I have spoken before this council on numerous occasions to express the Panther Hollow community’s adamant opposition to the proposed roadway from Hazelwood Green, through our neighborhood, and to Pitt and CMU. Our will to protect and preserve our unique heritage as one of Pittsburgh’s first Italian neighborhoods is unbreakable.

Unfortunately, our Italian mayor and this council will be setting aside nearly $20 million in this budget and future budgets for this roadway. Those monies should be reallocated to the districts of Councilmen Burgess and Lavelle, or any district where the basic human needs for housing are not being met.

The mayor and city council are perceived as puppets of Pitt and CMU. These economic giants are worshipped as gods because they control the purse strings of the city. However, their uncontrolled growth has decimated the business and residential districts of Oakland.

Although that is a tragedy, it is not perceived as such because 1) the tragedy has occurred slowly over a long period of time rather than a single moment in time; and 2) the tragedy has resulted not in any physical loss, but the etheric death of hopes and dreams. When will council epiphanize that enough is enough of this uncontrolled growth?

That decimation is shameful. When you meet with Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, the president of CMU, and their administrators, ask them if they feel any sense of shame for what their universities have done to Oakland. They will tell you no. Dominators pass their shame onto their victims. What are each of you and the mayor going to do with this shame? You can’t pass it on to the longtime residents of Oakland, because we don’t want it. End the shame by giving it back to the universities. In so doing you will take back your own power, and be the leaders the citizens of Pittsburgh elected you to be.

There are two pathways toward change: tragedy and human dignity. The pathway of tragedy is well worn out, the human dignity pathway not so much. To get on this pathway will require from each of you a new system of beliefs and attitudes, thoughts and feelings, and choices and decisions. It requires new desires, expectations, and imagination.

Now is the time for each of you to pause and reflect on why you became leaders. What were your ideals, principles, and integrity, and how far have you deviated from them? What wrongdoings by yourself and others, both inside government and those who interact with government, are you aware of, but have masked, denied, or ignored? End that shame also.

A new year gives hope for a new beginning, not just better than the past, but a genuine new beginning. Make the resolution to have spirituality, whatever you perceive it to be, as the essence of your every word and deed.

Carlino Giampolo

Belief Precedes Experience

City Council Public Comments
December 12, 2018

On August 24 and October 3, I came here and expressed the sentiment: Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall. Those public comments are on the website, Link 82 and I echo that same sentiment today.

Belief precedes experience. The mayor holds on to the faulty, destructive beliefthat a roadway from Hazelwood Green to Pitt and CMU is needed to develop that site. He initiated; city council shamefully approved$1.3 million for engineering design work; and the budget presented today will set aside $10.5 million for its construction. It is not hyperbole to say the roadway would destroythe Four Mile Run and Panther Hollow neighborhoods.

Our communities thank Bob Bauder of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewfor his November 27 article that shined a light into the opaqueness of city government. In that article, the mayor alluded to the fact that Pitt and CMU have little room to grow in Oakland. That’s a savvy, political way of saying these universities have already legally raped the land of Oaklandfor their self-interests. They have taken ownership of over 110 buildings and properties in our small community, but their insatiable greed continues.

The mayor went on to say that the roadway’s impact would be “minimal”. He is ignorant of the history of Oakland and is deceiving the people of Pittsburgh. When Pitt left the North side to come to Oakland in 1908, my grandparents’ generation also thought the impact would also be minimal, never imagining the massive destructionthe university would inflict on their community. Oakland has lost more than 80% of its residential population since my grandparents’ and parents’ generations.

The business district has been virtually destroyedand replaced with student housing, dormitories, and university-owned buildings. Today, there are no supermarkets, movie theatres, bowling alleys, hardware stores, shoe stores and shoe repair shops, high fashion men and women’s clothing stores, dry cleaners, alteration shops, bakeries, novelties and gift stores, and children’s toys and clothes stores. That destruction by Oakland’s universities is animmensetragedy that killed the hopes and dreams of a wonderful community.

The city of Pittsburgh offered Amazon more financial incentives than any other American city in its attempt to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters, yet Jeff Bezos did not choose Pittsburgh. Was he aware of the crookery at city hall, and did not want to partner with a city government that destroys neighborhoods for economic gain?Was the forged document in the mayor’s application just one of many other illegalities in the application process?

We suggest city and university staff to report any known wrongdoing to U.S. Attorney Scott Brady at (412) 644-3500. Crookery has no placein our city government and universities.

Carlino Giampolo

Pittsburgh Communities Need Federal Prosecutors to Oversee City Hall

City Council Public Comments
October 3, 2018

“Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall.” On August 24, I spoke before this council and ended my comments with these words. I echo these same words today.

In those comments, I talked about the shameful deception of the mayor and his administrators who, in July 2015, secretly filed for a $3 million dollar grant to build a roadway from the old Almono site in Hazelwood, through The Run and Panther Hollow, and to Pitt and CMU. We asked the Allegheny County District Attorney to investigate this sordid affair, but he did not respond to our requests. Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

This past April, the city repeated that shameful, opaque deception when they applied for federal funds through the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s Smart Program. In July, the city’s application was approved for $1,000,000. Again, our communities had no knowledge or word from our council members that this application was being made.Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

A syndicate in the city of Pittsburgh controls city hall. That syndicate is known as the University of Pittsburgh. For 16 years, as a councilman and mayor, Peduto has been a puppet of this syndicate. This was clearly evident 10 years ago when he chaired the hearings for Pitt’s master plan. The first two hearings lasted less than 20 minutes, and he never asked the Pitt administrators a single question of how that plan would further decimate Oakland.Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

However, the mayor is not the only puppet of this syndicate. The university also controls this council, which has never written a law to curb their uncontrolled growth. In matters pertaining to the university, this council thinks what the university wants it to think, and acts how the university wants it to act. Even though the city has lost 120,000 residents in the past several decades, this council attempts to justify their inaction by saying that the university is the economic engine of the city. Tragically, that engine is toxic and lethal for the university’s host community. Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

Until the strings of these puppets are cut and the domination by the syndicate has ended, Pittsburgh communities need federal prosecutors to oversee city hall.

Those listening to these comments can visit the websites and If there are any attorneys whose ethical, moral, and spiritual values guide them on a journey to end social injustice, then contact myself or someone you may know in Panther Hollow or The Run to offer your support. In the end, truth and justice will prevail.

Carlino Giampolo

Peduto Must Resign

Pittsburgh City Council
Public Comments
August 24, 2018

End the Crookery at City Hall

On July 31, 2015, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) filed an application with the State Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $3 million grant to build a roadway from the old Almono site in Hazelwood, through The Run and Panther Hollow, and to Pitt and CMU. The mayor kept this plan a secret from our two communities, clearly violating the state Sunshine Law.

Councilmen Kraus and O’Connor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and our communities eventually received copies of the application. We were all deceived. Compared to the application on file at the DCED in Harrisburg, our copies were missing documents.

Among the missing pages was a letter from the mayor, asserting that the city “will be committing $400,000 in the 2017 budget for the construction of this project.”

Another missing page was from the URA Chair Kevin Acklin stating, “The URA will be committing $400,000 from our major projects budget to be used for the construction of this project.”

There were also discrepancies. The application asserted that the project would be a partnership between four entities, including with the University of Pittsburgh, but Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said he had no knowledge of the application. Who is telling the truth?

The application asserted that the land for this project is owned by the City of Pittsburgh. However, at the first community meeting, four months after the application was filed, Director of City Planning Ray Gastil stated that the roadway would traverse railroad property and a parking lot owned by Pitt in Panther Hollow. It is unscrupulous and unconscionable that the mayor and Pitt would use that lot, which exists because of a 1982 agreement with our community, for this roadway that would destroy our neighborhood.

Also, in the application and without any community input, Ray Gastil wrote a letter to the DCED on behalf of the Department of City Planning, supporting the roadway project.

Twice, we asked District Attorney Stephen Zappala to investigate this issue. He has chosen silence.

In his 16 years as a councilman and mayor, William Peduto has been a puppet of the University of Pittsburgh and always supported its uncontrolled growth that has severely devastated Oakland’s residential and business districts.

The assertions made in this deceptive application clearly indicate that the mayor believes our community’s voices are irrelevant and powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth. He continues to impose his will upon our community by attempting to build this roadway. Peduto must resign. Let’s end the crookery at city hall.

Carlino Giampolo

Protecting and Preserving Our Two Neighborhoods

On July 29, 2018, residents and supporters of Panther Hollow and The Run held a protest rally at the monument site in Panther Hollow, and then proceeded to walk to The Run. The purpose of the protest was to send an unequivocal signal to city, university, and foundation leaders that this proposed roadway, from the old Almono site in Hazelwood (now called Hazelwood Green) to Oakland, is neither wanted nor needed by our two communities. Speeches were given in Panther Hollow and The Run. The following is one of those speeches.

July 29, 2018

By Carlino Giampolo
Panther Hollow

I would like to thank the residents of Panther Hollow and The Run, as well as all of our supporters, for being here today for this historic gathering. We unite as one to urge city administrators, foundation leaders, and university leaders to end the plan to build a roadway through our two neighborhoods.

Panther Hollow, one of the first Italian neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh, is a cultural treasure. This historic neighborhood should be protected and preserved, not threatened with an ill-conceived roadway. The Italian history of Panther Hollow is the quintessential story of the immigration experience in America that dates back to the 1880s when immigrants, mainly from the two towns of Gamberale and Pizzoferrato in the region of Abruzzi, settled here.

That first generation of humble, honest, hard-working immigrants came in search of a new life and brought with them their Italian traditions. In 1900, over 200 Italians lived on this street, and by 1920, that number grew to 470. Many of the early immigrants built their own homes and created a self-contained community with six stores, two banks, a travel company, cows and a milk company, vegetable gardens, and wine vineyards. Families looked out for one another and it was a place where everybody knew each other’s name. A detailed history of our neighborhood is on the website:

This is not the first time that Panther Hollow has been threatened with an ill-conceived development plan. In 1963, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield proposed a 21stCentury Research Park that would have begun at 5thAvenue and Neville Street, and continue through Panther Hollow and The Run until it reached the banks of the Monongahela River. In Panther Hollow, 60 homes would have been destroyed and over 250 Italians displaced. In addition, Central Catholic High School would have been destroyed, depriving any future students of graduating from there. The second generation of Italians, that of my parents, prevailed and Litchfield was defeated.

It is now up to us, the succeeding generations of our ancestors, whether you live here or not, to protect and preserve our historic neighborhood.

To those who propose this roadway, I have already provided numerous solutions that would not impact our two neighborhoods. Four roadways already in existence can be used instead: Second Avenue to Brady Street, Second Avenue to Bates Street, Greenfield Avenue to the Greenfield Bridge onto the Boulevard of the Allies, and Greenfield Avenue to Swinburne Street. In each of those alternatives, the travel time from Saline Street and Greenfield Avenue until you are in Oakland is, well, less than 10 minutes. This destructive roadway plan, which would save only a few minutes in drive time, is convenient for the universities and foundations, but devastating for our two historic communities. I have also suggested simply to employ express buses from the old Almono site to Oakland. These are just two of 12 suggestions that are on the website

I had also asked 10 of the top city, university, and foundation leaders who support the roadway, to please provide to us in detail all of the benefits to the Panther Hollow community, especially to the elderly residents who have lived here their entire lives, and who wish to live the remainder of their lives here in dignity and peace.Those leaders failed to provide any benefits. They all chose silence.

We all know who benefits the most:

They are the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. These are institutions of higher education. Should they not also have leaders of higher intelligence who can creatively figure out how to help the Hazelwood community without destroying Panther Hollow and The Run?

The roadway also benefits the foundations who own the old Almono site in Hazelwood. These foundations spent nearly $10 million dollars on the purchase of that property as well as for studies to support the proposed roadway. Would that money not have been better used to help the disenfranchised in our city?

The roadway also benefits our Italian mayor’s political ambitions. Should he not be using his energies to protect and preserve our historic Italian neighborhood, and to support efforts to enhance the neighborhood by building an Italian Cultural Center here? Should Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, whose mother-in-law was born and raised here, not do the same?

This neighborhood is sacred to us. We deeply honor and highly respect the legacy of our ancestors who came before us and sacrificed to make Panther Hollow a special place. They may very well be looking down on us, saying: keep on, keeping on, for your cause is just.

We will. We will stand tall, stand proud, stand out. We will triumph. There will be no roadway through Panther Hollow and The Run.

Basta is Basta

Panther Hollow & Th Run United As One

Break the Silence

Stephen Zappala, Jr.
Allegheny County District Attorney
436 Grant Street #303
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

July 11, 2018

RE: Oakland Transit Connector

Dear Mr. Zappala:

I am writing to you once again concerning the proposed Oakland Transit Connector project. On December 14, 2015, I hand-delivered a letter to your office, along with supporting materials, stating that this project warrants an investigation by your office.

You have chosen not to respond. However, it is now time to break the silence. The tragedy of this ill‑conceived project continues today, as evidenced by this letter to you. Your silence is a mystery, and from mysteries come numerous possible solutions. Here are a few questions we have for you:

1) Did you read my letter with the supporting documents and decide not to do an investigation? If so, why not? Were you contacted by any City and County political officials, leaders of the foundations that own the old Almono site, or any University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University leaders about this possible investigation? If so, what were you told?

2) If your office did an investigation, who conducted the investigation and how extensive was it?

3) As you know, on July 31, 2015, the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) then Acting Executive Director Robert Rubinstein submitted an application in secret for a $3 million Multimodal Transportation Fund grant to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). Was DCED and CFA deceived about the funds available for the project, and was there an overvaluation of a security amount to obtain the grant?

4) Mayor William Peduto stated in a letter to the DCED that the City of Pittsburgh will be committing $400,000 in the 2017 budget for the construction of this project. Did the mayor overvalue a security to obtain the grant?

5) The application was submitted by the URA on July 31, 2015, but was not ratified by the board until August 13, 2015. Board Chair Kevin Acklin wrote a letter to DCED stating that the URA will be committing $400,000 to be used in the construction of this project. Did the board chair also overvalue a security to obtain the grant? As you know, he was also the mayor’s chief of staff and has since resigned to work for a public utility company.

6) The application stated that the project will be a public-private partnership between the city of Pittsburgh, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. However, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher stated that he had no involvement in this project. University of Pittsburgh Attorney Paul Supowitz stated that the university was not involved in any discussions about the roadway project, and that they first learned about the proposed roadway in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. Were university officials and city officials questioned by your office about this discrepancy? Who is telling the truth: University of Pittsburgh officials, or those who prepared and submitted the grant?

7) Former CMU president Subra Suresh resigned in 2017, making his tenure the shortest in the school’s history. For some, this created another cloud of mystery. Was he questioned extensively by your office about this project? Did he eventually become aware of the injustice this project would cause to the communities impacted, or by the morally corrupt manner in which it was proceeding? Did he decide not to become further involved, thus creating tensions with others at CMU who do support the project?

8) The McCune Foundation was one of the four original foundation owners of the old Almono site. The leaders made the decision to sell their interest to the Richard King Mellon Foundation, thus creating another mystery. Were the leaders of the McCune Foundation investigated by your office as well as the leaders of the other foundation owners – Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation? What were the results of the investigation, if any?

9) It was discovered that the land for this roadway project proposed in the grant is owned by a railway company, the city of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh. The assertion in the application which stated the land for this project is owned solely by the city of Pittsburgh is not true and was deceptive to the CFA. Did your office investigate this untruth?

10) There were two versions of the application: one given to our community with pages missing, and one that was more complete and given to the DCED and CFA. Did your office investigate this discrepancy?

11) What was the involvement of Uber? Were there secret deals made between Uber and the city, foundations, and university officials?

12) The grant application stated there would be $200,000 of federal funds for the project, but there is no documentation of federal approval. Did you investigate this, or is this the domain of federal investigators?

We as a community are suspending judgment, for we want to hear from you directly. Both the #MeToo movement and this project bring to light once again that shame that is masked, denied, numbed, or ignored continues to grow. Similar to this project, the Duquesne Light Company recently purchased a parking lot in our community for $5.45 million in secret, without informing city council representatives, Oakland organizations, or our community.

In 1963, when former University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Edward Litchfield wanted to destroy Panther Hollow to build his futuristic 21stCentury Research Park, he also wanted to demolish your alma mater Central Catholic High School. Litchfield failed and the residents of Panther Hollow prevailed, allowing you and over 10,000 other graduates since to create memories and forge a solid moral foundation there.

Silence is compliance. Stand tall. Stand proud. Stand out. We trust you will respond this time, from your deepest inner integrity about everything you know. In the end, we believe goodness and truth will prevail.

Thank you,

Carlino Giampolo

The December 14, 2015 letter is on the website: