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STATE UNIVERSITY — Sandy Township has issued an unusual legal moratorium to suspend voter-approved integration with the city of DuBois, citing allegations of corruption against the city’s suspended administrators and worrisome financial oversight issues. requesting submission.
The merger is a rarity in Pennsylvania’s patchwork of more than 2,500 municipalities, which saw voters in DuBois and Sandy Townships on the 2021 referendum after three failed attempts over the past few decades. Approved by
Now, Sandy Township officials argue in new court filings: Widespread Fraud Allegations Against Herm Supliziois one of the most politically connected government officials in Dubois, raising questions about the city’s surveillance and ongoing investigations that require intervention.
In a complaint filed in Clearfield County Civil Court, officials said, “Given the unique and extraordinary circumstances presented here, including the serious criminal conduct, the town would be greatly affected without a permanent injunction. will suffer significant economic loss and damage.”
In March, the state attorney general’s office charged Mr. Splitzio with stealing more than $600,000 from taxpayers over a 10-year period. Mr. Splitzio has yet to plead in the lawsuit and has not appeared in court. Contrary to allegations, the city’s mayor and lawyers told the public that there was “no money missing” from the city.
The city council could absorb the costs of the alleged theft, although city officials told the public at a recent conference that DuBois has insurance to cover financial losses from the alleged crimes of city administrators. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the filing of the claim.
The council also approved payment of more than $250,000 to Spritzio’s private defense. Dubois’ taxpayers are paying for these expenses, but Mr. Splitzio receives his full salary while he is on paid leave.
A study conducted by the Pennsylvania Economic Federation in 2021 recommended consolidating DuBois and Sandy Townships, resulting in lower property taxes and utility bills for most residents, and “improved long-term local financial health.” ” is expected.
The study said the recommendations are based on “the 2020 budget and revenues and expenditures for the City of DuBois and Sandy Township from 2015 to 2019.” Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office, who accused Splitzio, found that all city funds were recorded and unaccounted for in their financial records.
In its complaint, Sandy Township said it could no longer rely on the financial analysis of the study, which underlies voter approval of the merger.
As an example, “The charges against city administrators included selling city water to oil and gas companies at rates in excess of those stipulated in the rate schedule approved by the city’s Public Utilities Commission.” “The millions of dollars received from these illegal water sales remain missing in city funds and are unaccounted for,” the complaint states.
Since Splitzio’s arrest, more discoveries have come to light, further eroding confidence in the city’s administration.
gift bag full $93,000 or more in cash of unknown origin Showed up at DuBois City Hall last month. Sandy Township’s complaint, citing a Spotlight PA report, said DuBois’ internal accounting systems and controls “did not meet applicable standards.”
The township told the court that it would be “extremely thoughtless and irresponsible” to consolidate by the Jan. 5, 2026 deadline, given evidence of “great uncertainty and questions about the city’s finances.”
Sandy Township has asked the court to stay the consolidation proceedings until the criminal investigation into Splitzio and the forensic audit of DuBois’ finances are completed. DuBois interim city manager Chris Nasty said at a public meeting on May 22 that the audit is ongoing and could take up to a year to complete.
Sandy Township attorney Scott Wyland told Spotlight Pennsylvania that the court filing “is probably the first and only lawsuit of its kind.” “Municipal amalgamations and amalgamations are extremely rare, and criminal charges are likely to be severe enough to justify judicial intervention, and are perhaps a special case.”
Wyland said the Pennsylvania law governing consolidation and mergers between municipalities does not address the situation facing Sandy Township and DuBois. But the township believes the courts have “the inherent power to intervene in this legal process and make amendments and adjustments,” he said.
It remains to be seen if the city will formally respond to the complaint. Mr. Dubois can object and seek a denial of the application, or he can agree with the town’s demands.
The city has not made an official statement at this time, Nasty told Spotlight PA.
“We hope the city will agree that it’s prudent to pause the consolidation process until both the city and township know the results of the investigation,” Wyland said.
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https://www.spotlightpa.org/statecollege/2023/06/dubois-sandy-township-pa-consolidation-suplizio-corruption/ Sandy Township, Pennsylvania Wants DuBois Consolidation Pause Pennsylvania State University Focused