Pa. turnpike picks ex-FBI chief to clean up image

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HARRISBURG (AP) – Eager to shore up its public image amid an ongoing corruption probe, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said Wednesday that it hired a former FBI official to be its new inspector general.


Ray Morrow, a former chief of the Pittsburgh FBI office, is responsible for examining reports of theft, fraud and waste, the commission said.


“His professional background, credentials and integrity were the cornerstone for his selection as our new inspector general,” said David Gentile, the agency’s chief compliance officer.


State prosecutors filed criminal charges in March against eight people, in connection with alleged bid rigging and influence peddling involving multimillion-dollar turnpike contracts.


Six of the defendants, including a former state senator and three former top commission employees, were ordered held for trial in July. Lawyers in the case are scheduled to meet with Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis next week to discuss scheduling.


The other two defendants, both turnpike employees, are being prosecuted separately, said Joe Peters, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.


During his more than 20 years in the FBI, Morrow also worked as an undercover agent and a white-collar crime supervisor. After leaving the FBI, he worked in corporate investigations and previously was employed by Siemens Corp. in Fairfax, Va.


“I’ve had extensive experience investigating everything from cyber and computer crimes to developing strategic plans for crisis situations,” said Morrow, a resident of the Southwestern Pennsylvania city of Washington.


Mark Compton, the turnpike’s chief executive officer, said, “Ray’s diverse background will serve the Turnpike well as we continue moving forward to enhance the transparency and accountability of our organization.”


In September, the agency’s last inspector general, Anthony Maniscola, said political influence, patronage and pay-to-play contracting continue to be pervasive. He urged that it be placed under the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.


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