Suspected Corruption Investigation at the City of Pittsburg




Sometime prior to 2001, Huppert began working with the FBI on an investigation into suspected corruption within the PPD. While he does not disclose what assistance he gave to the FBI, he does claim that this work was “outside [his] duties as a member of the PPD.” Then, in January 2001, his superior, William Zbacnik, informed Huppert that he would be transferred to “Code Enforcement,” also known as the “Strategic Operations Bureau.”   He was officially transferred in June 2001, and was sent to a building known within the PPD as the “Penal Colony,” because “disaffected and/or disfavored officers were assigned there.”   Huppert's new supervisor, William Hendricks (“Hendricks”), informed him that he had been sent to the “Penal Colony” because Baker wanted Hendricks to find a way to fire him.   Huppert's new office at the “Penal Colony” was a “tiny converted bathroom without computer access,” and even though he was assigned to investigate gang-related activity, the building was not equipped with the proper secured areas needed for his investigations.   During the six-month period between January and June 2001, Huppert was not permitted to work overtime.
Salgado joined the force in 1995 and was, for the majority of his tenure, a detective.   In September 2001, he was assigned to the “Strategic Operations Bureau” as Huppert's partner.   Baker assigned both of them to investigate suspected corruption at the local City-owned golf course, but told them not to inform Hendricks of this assignment.   The investigation “revealed improper conduct by members of the PPD, including gambling, accepting free golf, and possible illegal drug activity.”   After only two interviews, Baker commanded that Huppert and Salgado cease the investigation.   Once they informed Hendricks, he encouraged them to continue investigating and informed Baker that Huppert and Salgado were still looking into corruption at the golf course.   Hendricks also informed the FBI that he believed there was a major gambling operation on-going at the golf course.
Huppert claims that while Baker told them not to memorialize their findings, they drafted a report at the conclusion of their inquiry and directed it to Baker and the Pittsburg City Manager.   The report “included a finding that defendant Zbacnik had accepted thousands of dollars in gratuities and other illegal perks.”   However, following the report, Baker took no action against Zbacnik, and instead deemed Zbacnik's actions a “training issue.”
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