Pittsburgh poised to reimburse Pittsburgh Marathon for 2017 Great Race expenses |

Pittsburgh poised to reimburse Pittsburgh Marathon for 2017 Great Race expenses

Runners in the Great Race head down Forbes Avenue in 2015.

Pittsburgh is poised to reimburse the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon $144,416 for additional expenses to stage the Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race in 2017.

The expenses are in addition to the $60,000 the city already paid Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon to take over the race.

City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the payment without comment during a preliminary vote. A final vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Pittsburgh originally agreed to pay the marathon, also known as P3R, $60,000 for race management in 2017 and the greater of $60,000 or 40 percent of net revenue generated by the race for management services in 2018 and 2019.

To meet tight race deadlines in 2017, P3R incurred $144,416 in expenses that would have normally come from the city’s great race trust fund, according to council members. The race is funded through sponsorships and registration fees.

City officials transferred race management to the marathon from the city Parks and Recreation Department in June 2017 — three months before the race — amid questions about department spending from race accounts.

A Tribune-Review examination of invoices indicated the parks department spent $343,326 from the trust fund in 2016 and at least 40 percent of that paid for expenses that were not connected to the Great Race. Expenditures included paying for a clown to appear at park events, repairs to the Westwood swimming pool and rental of a tree stump grinder and backhoe for work in Frick Park.

A city investigation found no evidence of malfeasance or theft, but the expenditures violated Mayor Bill Peduto’s 2014 executive order requiring approval of the Finance Department and City Council for spending from all accounts, according to city officials.

Mayor Richard Caliguiri, who died in 1988 of amyloidosis, established the race in 1977 as a community “fun run.” The city donates $1 from each registration fee to the Richard S. Caliguiri Amyloidosis Fund, which supports medical research.

The race is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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