Democracy Has Prevailed.

April 8, 2021

Another McCullough In The News!

We all saw what happened yesterday:

Former Allegheny County Councilman Charles McCullough is in the custody of the sheriff’s office this morning — more than five years after he was sentenced to prison for stealing from an elderly widow.

The 66-year-old from Upper St. Clair reported to the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman Tuesday morning to begin serving his 2½- to 5-year prison term imposed for five counts each of theft and misapplication of funds. McCullough’s adult son and daughter and a priest were present.

And astute reader emailed me a link with this added message:

And AP is now curious about Patricia.
"Patricia" would be Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, Chuck's wife.

The Trib even said so in yesterday's coverage. Here is the next paragraph from Paula Reed Ward's piece:

His wife, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, was not there. She is running for state Supreme Court in this year’s Republican primary. She has served on Commonwealth Court since 2010.

So Chuck's kids (and, of course, a priest) were with him in his last minutes of freedom, but his wife, who's running for a seat on the State Supreme Court) wasn't.


Anyway, here's some of the ways that Judge McCullough shows up in the AP reporting on Felon McCullough reporting for prison:

The husband of a Pennsylvania appellate judge who is running for the state’s highest court began serving a prison sentence Tuesday in a long-running case involving taking money from an elderly woman’s trust fund to benefit several political campaigns and a charity connected to his wife.

That's the first paragraph. 

A few paragraph's down there's this:

[McCullough] had argued at his trial that he had the widow’s approval to use the money and had remained free on appeal since his sentencing. Asked if Patricia McCullough had ever intervened on her husband’s behalf, [Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen] Zappala’s office said it knew of no evidence presented in court to indicate that.

Well that's good. The next paragraphs? Not so good:

Charles McCullough spent the money in 2006 and 2007, using $40,000 for campaign contributions and sending the other $10,000 to a charity, according to court records.

That charity was Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where Patricia McCullough was the executive director and the organization was lagging behind a fundraising goal, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in 2007.

“She said to keep quiet about it,” Mary Ann Krupa, who had worked in the charity’s development office, told the newspaper. “I said ‘I don’t understand.’ She said ‘You don’t have to understand. It’s a total secret.’”

Catholic Charities gave back the donation and Patricia McCullough’s alleged attempts to keep the donation a secret later came up in trial testimony.

The P-G link has this:

Mary Ann Krupa, who worked in the charity's development office from 2002 until June, said employees were preparing for their annual fund-raising banquet and were short of a $600,000 fund-raising goal when she was called by Mrs. McCullough. She said Mrs. McCullough told her of a last-minute $10,000 donation by an elderly client of her husband.

And the trial testimony link has this:

Prosecutors also called a former fundraiser from Catholic Charities to testify about a $10,000 donation from the Jordan trust. McCullough's wife, Patricia McCullough, a Commonwealth Court candidate, was then the executive director of the charity and demanded the donor be kept secret, said Mary Ann McGlashon, a former associate director.

The pledge came just before the black-tie Bishop's Annual Dinner where McCullough had to announce whether she met the year's fundraising goal.

So let's see if I am reading this right. The charity was short of it's $600K fundraising goal and it's executive director, Patricia McCullough, was going to have to announce that fact at the charity's annual banquet. This is when a surprise donation of $10K arrives by way of the executive director's husband, Charles McCullough.

And what happened to Mary Ann Krupa? The woman who questioned the secret donation? The P-G has an answer for that, too:

One month after the banquet, Ms. Krupa said she was called into Mrs. McCullough's office and told her job was being "bifurcated," in essence, divided into two posts. She was offered neither of the jobs and now works at another area charity.

Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough, more recently:

All law is based on divine law.