According to a witness, indictments are likely in the grand jury investigation that now appears to encompass more state Department of Community and Economic Development grant-funded programs than the failed Allegheny Center for the Arts project in downtown Warren.
Warren resident Barb Lucia told the Times Observer on Thursday that she spent approximately an hour and a half testifying before the grand jury in Pittsburgh on Oct. 16.
While she declined to name the other individuals who testified on the same day, citing confidentiality, Lucia said that the chief investigator indicated to her that there likely won't be a grand jury report.
In her opinion, she said, "There are going to be indictments."
In the event that indictments are handed down, any cases that go to trial serve as the public record of the proceedings.
When might the hammer fall on potential indictments?
Lucia said the investigator indicated to her a hope to wrap up proceedings and issue indictments in January or February. Main Street President Dan Ristau, who has already testified before the grand jury, gave a similar time line to the Times Observer earlier this month. He also cited information he received as part of his testimony.
Lucia indicated that two elected officials were there when she testified, but declined to name them.
Lucia said she was asked questions about multiple DCED grants issued to BVK, Inc. for work on the city's west side. She also explained that she was asked about a public forum held on Oct. 7, 2010 with Tim King of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Cooperative Innovation and the Northwest Energy Resource Group regarding plans for a proposed Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment facility on the west side as well.
She noted she fielded questions about city office holders and their "behavior before and during the election last year."
Ristau said earlier this month, "The grand jury was surprisingly knowledgeable. I want everyone to know that the grand jury knows a lot." He added that he was "sitting there in confirmation mode" in response to the jury's questions.
Lucia indicated a similar experience. She said that she felt the grand jury was "using (her) to confirm what someone else said." They were "all over the place in their questioning."