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Cleland Leaves Disability Group

Despite claiming to represent millions of people, PAID’s own Web site has a tracking system that indicates it averages fewer than 10 hits a day. In August, the organization had 14 jobs listed on the site, all of them at two organizations: MountainTop Technologies, a local company that has received millions of dollars in earmarks from Murtha over the past decade; and Greater Alleghenies Blood Services, a local Red Cross center that takes blood donations at the John P. Murtha Donor Pavilion, named in honor of Murtha’s efforts to secure earmarks for the facility.

MountainTop CEO David Fyock also serves on the board of directors of PAID, and in 2002 he announced in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee that PAID was changing its name to People Assisting Individuals with Disabilities to reflect its “broader scope of activities.” But the name change never happened.

Murtha had announced the creation of PAID in 2001, saying that Aeptec Microsystems Inc., a company he helped bring to the region, would be opening a new headquarters and hiring two clients of the new organization. As documented in a previous Roll Call story, the headquarters never opened.

In an e-mail, PAID Executive Director Kimberly Roberts noted that the group is not a statewide organization and has a more limited reach. “PAID’s service region is only nine counties,” Roberts said. “Within those nine counties, though, our outreach is broad and we do our best to partner with as many organizations as we can.”

Roberts said the group has no ties to Murtha and that since she joined the staff in 2004, “Mr. Murtha has had no personal involvement with me, Carmen or any of the staff.”

Working with a mostly volunteer or temporary work force, PAID has received about $1 million in government grants to help people with disabilities get jobs, mostly through earmarks provided by Murtha.

According to a Labor Department spokesman, Murtha secured a $500,000 earmark grant for PAID in 2003 and a second earmark of $150,000 in 2004. But the department restricted PAID’s access to its grant funds in 2003 “because of high staff turnover and a determination that the organization did not have anyone qualified to make decisions or sign off on invoices,” the spokesman said.

The group’s access to federal money was restricted again in September 2005 “pending the replacement of a recently dismissed operations director. Restricted access was never lifted, as the organization did not make such a request and there were only three months left on the grant, which closed on 12/30/05,” according to Labor Department records.

PAID documents show it received a $300,000 state grant in 2006, but the organization’s only other fundraising activity appears to be an annual golf tournament in Silver Spring, Md., where Scialabba lives.

Scialabba, who spent 27 years on Murtha’s staff, has represented several clients while at KSA Consulting that have received earmarks from Murtha, including Aeptec and MountainTop. Other board members include:

• Tom Caulfield of the Johnstown office of the Veterans Leadership Program, which is housed in the same building as PAID and received a $500,000 earmark from Murtha in the Labor and Health and Human Services appropriations bill passed by the House in July;

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