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NEW CASTLE Parking-meter allegations contested



Published: Tue, July 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Two other charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A former parking-authority employee accused of taking money from parking meters says there is no evidence to support the charges.

John Cubbal Jr., 50, of East Friendship Street, is asking a Lawrence County judge to dismiss charges of theft by unlawful taking, criminal conspiracy to commit theft and receiving stolen property.

Cubbal was arrested in April 2001, along with Donald Pallerino, 55, former parking-authority director, and his 28-year-old son, John, both now of Cape Coral, Fla., after a 12-month investigation by Pennsylvania State Police. Police said more than $12,000 is missing from the agency that oversees all metered parking lots and garages in the city.

Donald Pallerino pleaded guilty to one count of theft in May. He was sentenced to two years' probation and paid $20,000 in restitution to the city in exchange for prosecutors' dropping charges against his son.

John Pallerino also agreed to testify against Cubbal at trial as part of the plea agreement.

Cubbal, who worked as a ticket enforcement officer, appeared before Judge J. Craig Cox on Monday to complete a writ of habeas corpus hearing that started in April. Cubbal said prosecutors have offered no evidence linking him to the Pallerinos and that the charges should be dropped.

Deposit records

Ted Saad, interim parking-authority director, testified about a report by a parking-authority employee. The report showed that from January to August of 1999, there was only one bank-deposit slip found, totaling $212 from the parking meters in the South Mercer Street garage. But from January to April 2000, after the Pallerinos and Cubbal were gone from the parking authority, bank deposits from the garage meters totaled $4,179.05, Saad said.

Cubbal's attorney Joseph Kearney questioned how the report was compiled. Bank statements from January to August 1999 show there were far more deposits made than reflected on the parking-authority report used in court, he said. Another parking-authority report showed that the garage meters generated $4,068.45 in revenue in 1999.

Kearney argued that the employee who compiled the report stating only one deposit of $212 was made in 1999 checked only deposit slips found in Pallerino's desk after he left and did not check bank statements that show more deposits.

Kearney went on to argue that prosecutors have not shown that any revenue is missing and that there was no evidence that Cubbal conspired with the Pallerinos.

Thomas Bashero, assistant district attorney, did not make oral arguments at Monday's hearing and said he would file a written brief on the matter.

Judge Cox said he should make a decision on the matter in about a month.

The judge did agree to dismiss charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal conspiracy to commit theft where more than $200 was alleged to have been diverted from the parking authority to Crisci Foods. The judge said there was no evidence presented to support the charges, which were filed after Cubbal's initial arraignment.




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