Frank LaGrotta


Frank LaGrotta

Infobox State Representative
name = Frank LaGrotta


caption =
state_house = Pennsylvania
district = 10th
term_start = January 6, 1987
term_end = November 27, 2006
predecessor = Ralph D. Pratt
successor = Jaret Gibbons
party = Democratic
date of birth = Birth date and age|1958|11|26|mf=y
place of birth = Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
date of death =
place of death =
alma_mater = University of Notre Dame University of Pittsburgh
profession = Journalist
spouse =
residence = Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
religion = Catholic
website =

Frank LaGrotta (November 25, 1958) is a former Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 10th District from 1987 to 2006.

Personal life

LaGrotta was born in Ellwood City. [http://www.vote-smart.org/bio.php?can_id=BS028248 Biography] at Project Vote Smart] He is an alumnus of Riverside High School.cite news
last = Walter
first = Kori
title = All in the Family
work =
publisher = Beaver County Times
date = 2007-11-14
url = http://timesonline.com/articles/2007/11/15/news/top_stories/doc473bb47eeb1b2384764719.prt
accessdate =
] He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, having received a Bachelor of Arts in 1980 and a Master of Arts in 1981. He is the grandson of immigrants.cite news
last = Roddy
first = Dennis
title = LaGrotta rose fast as Casey Democrat
work =
publisher = Pittsburgh Post Gazette
date = 2007-11-15
url = http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07319/834109-85.stm
accessdate =
]

After graduation, LaGrotta worked as a sports journalist with Gannett News Service from 1981-1983. LaGrotta returned home to work as office manager for Ralph Pratt, who was then the representative for the 10th district. He also served as Legislative Director of the Beaver County Legislative Delegation from 1983-1986.

Political career

Upon Pratt's election as a judge, LaGrotta ran for his boss's seat. In 1986 he defeated Republican Jim Gerlach, who is currently a U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district. LaGrotta was considered a Casey Democrat because of his pro-life stance and his strong ties to organized labor.

He won re-election nine times, largely with token Republican opposition. He faced one serious challenge in the GOP landslide year of 1994 winning with only 53% of the vote. After the 1994 scare, LaGrotta ran unopposed in four of his last five races. [cite news
last =
first =
title = Frank LaGrotta Candidate Detail
work =
publisher = OurCampaigns.com
date =
url = http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=34950
accessdate = 2008-01-09
]

LaGrotta made one run at higher office, in 1992. He finished fourth in a four-way primary for Pennsylvania's 4th congressional district with Ron Klink ultimately defeating Rep. Joe Kolter. [cite news
last =
first =
title =1992 General Primary
work = Sourced from 1994 Almanac of American Politics
publisher = OurCampaigns.com
date =
url = http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=210023
accessdate = 2008-01-09
]

During his tenure, LaGrotta established himself as a strong advocate for his district, securing funds for 11 bridges in Ellwood City, leading opposition to a hazardous waste facility in his district, and lobbying for public works projects.

2006 primary election

LaGrotta ran for re-election for an eleventh term, but was defeated in the primary for the 2006 election by political newcomer Jaret Gibbons. The margin of defeat was 28 votes. [cite news
last =
first =
title =2006 General Primary
work =
publisher = Pennsylvania Department of State
date = 2006-05-16
url = http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?FunctionID=15&ElectionID=20&OfficeID=13&DistrictID=81
accessdate =
] cite news
last =
first =
title =State House races: Pistella, LaGrotta, Stevenson out; Veon wins
work =
publisher = Pittsburgh Post Gazette
date = 2006-05-17
url = http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06137/690792-179.stm
accessdate =
]

The election focused on LaGrotta's support for the controversial 2005 legislative pay raise.cite news
last =
first =
title = Lessons unlearned
work =
publisher = Bucks County Courier Times
date = 2007-11-18
url = http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/321-11182007-1442955.html
accessdate =
]

Following the election, LaGrotta was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the Lawrence County Housing Authority in December 2006. He resigned this position in October 2007.

Conflict of interest legal proceedings

Infobox Criminal
subject_name = Frank LaGrotta


image_size = 150px
image_caption = Dauphin County Police Department mugshot of Frank LaGrotta on November 16, 2007
date_of_birth = Birth date and age|1958|11|25|mf=y
place_of_birth = Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
date_of_death =
place_of_death =
charge = 2 courts of conflict of interest
penalty = 6 months house arrest, probation, and fines
status = house arrest
occupation = Pennsylvania State Representative
spouse =

On November 14, 2007, LaGrotta was arraigned in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on two corruption-related felony charges, following the Attorney General's investigation into the 2006 bonus controversy. According to State Attorney General Tom Corbett, LaGrotta allegedly used his position to have his sister and niece paid over $26,000 from state funds. [Barnes, Tom. [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07320/834386-85.stm LaGrotta knew nothing about hefty bonuses, lawyer says] , "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette", 2007-11-16. Accessed 2007-11-27.] [cite web |url=http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/103-11142007-1441033.html |title=Ex-lawmaker faces charges as corruption probes roil Pa. House (phillyBurbs.com) | Pennsylvania News |accessdate=2008-01-08 |format= |work=] On December 20, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Bonus storm distracts state Democrats| date=2007-12-23 | publisher=pennlive.com | url =http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2007/12/bonus_storm_consumes_state_dem.html | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2008-01-10 | language = ] On February 3, 2008 LaGrotta pleaded guilty to two felony [ [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/02/05/uss_cole_families_want_suit_reopened Ex-official pleads guilty in job scam] , Associated Press via the "Boston Globe", 2008-02-05. Accessed 2008-02-20.] counts of conflict of interest for having ghost workers on his payroll. He was sentenced to six months of house arrest, along with probation and fines. [ [http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2008/02/former_state_lawmaker_pleads_g.html Ex-legislator sentenced for no-show workers - Midstate PA Local News, Weather, Sports & Entertainment - PennLive.com ] ] [ [http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080204_A_former_state_rep__pleads_guilty_over_no_show_jobs_.html A former state rep. pleads guilty over no show jobs. | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/04/2008 ] ] [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08035/854668-100.stm Ex-Rep. LaGrotta pleads guilty in ghost employee case ] ] [ [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_550733.html LaGrotta pleads guilty - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ] ] He will continue to receive his full pension of $48,000 per year, since conflict of interest convictions do not fall under the State Employees' Retirement System's list of 23 crimes that require pension forfeiture. [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08058/860900-100.stm Despite guilty plea, ex-Rep. LaGrotta to get full pension ] ] After his guilty plea, he stopped repaying the unvouchered expenses from the 2005 legislative payraise and was refunded the amount that he had previously returned. [ [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08060/861390-85.stm After returning raise, LaGrotta took it back ] ]

References


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