Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby’s sole focus is to put a positive charge into her city.
As the city’s first African American female mayor, she’s hit the ground running, making changes to the police department, being very visible in the community, and doing her best to make Duquesne a viable place for its constituents.
But according to Mayor Nesby, there is a group of non-supporters that’s out to make her look incompetent by using intimidation tactics, which ultimately could place the entire city of Duquesne at a disadvantage.
Mayor Nesby said she’s recently found feces across the floor of the Duquesne City Hall bathroom near her office, the American flag was stolen from outside City Hall, and pictures of her home have been shared on social media.
Mayor Nesby said she’s nervous being at her home alone, and oftentimes, she decides not to stay there, as police have stepped up patrols.
She’s had to install additional cameras in Duquesne’s City Hall municipal building, where she attempts to perform the daily work needed to make Duquesne a better place.
And as for the American flag—the city replaced the stolen flag, then placed a lock on the flag pole.
But that’s not all. Just days before Mayor Nesby took office in January 2018, she alleges the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne (RACD) uncharacteristically transferred $1.3 million to a private nonprofit called the Duquesne Business Advisory Corporation (DBAC).
The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that the DBAC is not legally connected to Duquesne’s redevelopment authority, though they’ve worked in tandem in the past. In a release provided to the Courier by Take Action Mon Valley, DBAC is controlled by former Duquesne Mayor Phillip Krivacek, who just retired after more than a decade in office, along with the former city manager, Frank Piccolino III, who resigned from his position in November 2017, seemingly as Nesby was on her way to winning the mayoral election.
Take Action Mon Valley’s release states that Piccolino is now on the DBAC board, serving as treasurer.
Take Action Mon Valley, in advance of the press conference the group scheduled for Jan. 3, said that it’s the first time in history the Duquesne mayor—in this case, Nesby—does not sit on the RACD board or chair the board.
Thus, Mayor Nesby is leading the city of Duquesne is suing the city’s redevelopment authority and the DBAC in order to regain the $1.3 million that is currently being controlled by the DBAC.
“This money is being withheld from the citizens of Duquesne,” Take Action Mon Valley Co-Founder Fawn Walker-Montgomery said in the Jan. 2 release.
Mayor Nesby made it clear that the actions by the RACD and DBAC performed on Dec. 31, 2017 were done to undermine her.
“Neither the Authority nor the Private Corporation can articulate any legitimate purpose for this transaction other than uncertainty surrounding the new administration, including personal concerns regarding Mayor Nickole Nesby,” the lawsuit, obtained by the Courier, alleges.
The lawsuit further states that the transaction between the RACD and DBAC was completed “with the intent to deprive Mayor Nesby of her opportunity to appoint members to the Authority’s Executive Board and otherwise participate in the distribution of revolving loan funds used for the public purpose of community redevelopment.”
Mayor Nesby told the Courier she’s not sure who specifically is behind the general intimidation tactics she’s alleged. But she did say there is a group which refers to themselves as “We are Duquesne” that collectively could be behind it. Mayor Nesby said it’s all part of the “old family politics” of Duquesne which no longer is in power due to Nesby’s winning of the mayoral election in November.
“I don’t know who it is,” Mayor Nesby told the Courier of specific individuals to blame. “They (We are Duquesne) operate as a family, and they protect their own.”
Mayor Nesby also told the Courier exclusively: “I want the Black community to get involved. I want the Black community to know that this is not normal. I want the Black community to know that they deserve better and to quit accepting this as normal. It’s not…There’s something wrong when you still have the political force holding on to money that can change the life of everyone inside this city, and they still have their hands on it because they don’t want to let go.”
“Moving that money to us is a criminal act,” Walker-Montgomery told the media during the scheduled press conference, Jan. 3. “They stole money from the residents of the city of Duquesne; they should be charged with that. The DA (Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.) should be looking into this, so it’s our job to apply pressure on the DA.”
The $1.3 million is mostly part of a revolving loan used by the city to fund redevelopment efforts. Until the funds are transferred back to the RACD and Mayor Nesby becomes chair of the board or a member of the board, she won’t have final say as to how the money is used pertaining to spurring different projects in Duquesne. In Mayor Nesby’s eyes, the money transfer to the DBAC—which occurred roughly 465 days ago—is halting economic growth in Duquesne, to the detriment of all residents.
“Good, bad or indifferent how you feel about the mayor, what if this was your daughter, what if this was your sister, what if this was your relative?” asked Walker-Montgomery concerning Mayor Nesby at the press conference. “We have to make sure that we are speaking up so the next person doesn’t have to go through this. What this woman’s had to go through is just unspeakable.”
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