Pa. Turnpike board hires compliance chief

Posted: September 21, 2012

LOWER SWATARA TWP., Pa. - The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, subject of an ongoing state grand jury probe, has hired a former FBI agent to lead its in-house investigations.

At a closed session prior to its twice-monthly meeting Thursday, David A. Gentile, head of a Philadelphia-area security firm, was named the commission's chief compliance officer, said turnpike chief executive officer Roger E. Nutt.

It is not known what Gentile will be paid or when he will start.

Since 2009, the commission has been under investigation by the state Attorney General's Office. The grand jury is believed to be looking into possible corruption, and so far has brought one known indictment, of a Montgomery County man on charges including use of a turnpike account to purchase thousands of dollars of plumbing, electrical, and other personal supplies.

The commission added an office of inspector general in 2009 and retained a private-detective agency in April.

The inspector general's office, which Gentile will oversee, reported in 2010 that its investigations resulted in the dismissal of 32 employees for various violations including "misappropriation of turnpike equipment or resources, and theft."

The turnpike is $7 billion in debt, in part because of legally required $450 million annual payments to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Higher tolls will go into effect in January.

Last month, State Rep. Peter J. Daley (D., Washington-Fayette) called for the resignations of Nutt and Craig R. Shuey, chief operating officer, saying they showed a "lack of leadership" and "inability to manage funds."

Nutt, a former New Jersey highway official, is the father of Brian Nutt, Gov. Corbett's campaign manager and former chief of staff.

Nutt is to testify next week before lawmakers at a hearing on the turnpike's finances.

The turnpike's annual budget is about $325 million, with $460,000 of that going to the inspector general's office.

During his FBI career, Gentile was involved in high-profile organized-crime and racketeering cases, including that of Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi, later a key witness against mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo.

For four years he also was director of labor operations for the Convention Center.

In February 2011, he founded Protocol Security Partners L.L.C., with offices in Philadelphia and Blackwood, N.J.


Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-313-8210 or twood@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Angela Couloumbis contributed to this article.

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