Pennsylvania Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, who sponsored legislation that led to the state takeover of distressed capital city Harrisburg, faces 14 charges of professional misconduct as a private attorney.

The Supreme Court's office of disciplinary counsel has scheduled a hearing for 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 24.

According to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, the charges against Piccola, a Republican from Susquehanna Township and a name partner at law firm Boswell, Tintner, Piccola, relate to his legal representation of Utah-based "heir hunting" firm Kemp & Associates.

The firm searches courthouse estate filings throughout the United States to connect potential beneficiaries with inheritances for one-third of whatever assets the beneficiaries would receive, the disciplinary office said.

According to the newspaper, the disciplinary office accuses Piccola of engaging in unprofessional actions, including "conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation."

Piccola's attorney, Bob Davis, called the charges "an embarrassment" in an interview with the Patriot-News.

"Jeff did nothing," Davis told the newspaper. "We have cooperated for one-and-a-half to two years. ... To say [Piccola] was disappointed and surprised by this, that might have been a bit of an understatement."

Piccola is retiring after having served in the Senate since 1995. During the fiscal crisis that has left Harrisburg with more than $310 million of incinerator-related bond debt that it cannot pay, Piccola sharply criticized local officials for their inability to break a political gridlock.

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