Abramovic Feels Vindicated After State Ethics Committee Clears Him of Allegations

| March 22, 2018

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission recently cleared Venango County Commissioner Albert “Chip” Abramovic of any wrongdoing in regards to an alleged complaint brought to the Commission by fellow Commissioner Timothy Brooks leaving Abramovic feeling “vindicated.”

According to a letter sent to Abramovic and received by exploreVenango.com late Wednesday night, the Commission had looked into an allegation that Abramovic used his position as an elected commissioner for a private pecuniary benefit.

But, the Ethics Commission said its preliminary findings show no wrongdoing.

“The Investigative Division of the State Ethics Committee has completed a preliminary inquiry regarding allegations received that you, in your capacity as a commissioner for Venango County, violated provisions of the State Ethics Act by using the authority of your public position for a private pecuniary benefit,” the letter from the Commission’s Executive Director Robert Caruso.

“Specifically, it was alleged that you had participated in decisions of the Board of County Commissioners to appropriate grant funds to a startup company located in the City of Franklin with which you had solicited an equity interest in return for your actions as a public official to secure grant funds for the company.”

“Following a preliminary inquiry into this matter, the investigative division was unable to determine that you used the authority of your office to solicit an ownership interest in the startup company in return for your assistance in securing grant funds from the county on behalf of the company. As such, the investigative division has closed its interest in this matter.”

See the full letter here

Abramovic said he feels vindicated by the Ethics Commission’s decision.

“I was falsely accused and have been vindicated,” Abramovic said. “It was done in a cowardly fashion behind my back without doing an investigation to determine the truth. The Commonwealth investigators confirmed that there is not one single shred of evidence to the contrary.”

Abramovic said he is concerned that county taxpayer money was possibly used in the process.

“I’m troubled by the fact that this apparent smear campaign was possibly undertaken by individuals who utilized Venango County resources,” Abramovic said. “Someone needs to take a close look at what this cost the county and how we can be reimbursed by those responsible.”

Abramovic said he has engaged in legal counsel to clear his name, and it’s possible that he may bring legal action.

“I may consider bringing a Dragonetti case against the individuals,” Abramovic said.

The Dragonetti Act is a law that allows those who have been named as defendants in civil actions to sue those that have pursued them if they believe that the actions were a wrongful use of civil proceedings.

“I didn’t get into public office for this sort of stuff,” Abramovic said. “All I want to do is make a difference. I was elected to serve the people of Venango County, and I am proud to do that.”

In the process of the investigation, it was discovered that Abramovic failed to file a statement of financial interests for the calendar year 2015 and filed a deficient statement of financial interests for the calendar year 2016.

“These transgressions of the Ethics Act will be pursued through the Commission’s civil citation and (you) will be notified accordingly under (a) separate letter,” according to the Ethics Commission’s letter.

Abramovic said that was an oversight, and those documents have since been turned in.

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