The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is accusing Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of suing it over its nonprofit status to cover a scandal in his administration, according to a court filing.
Ravenstahl "seeks to divert attention from scandalous public reports of his precarious legal predicament and to curry favor with parties intent on harming UPMC and capable of cushioning his political fall," attorneys for the health provider said in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The mayor filed the challenge to UPMC's nonprofit status on March 20, saying his move followed an extensive review process by independent counsel Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky.
The mayor said in early March he would not seek re-election. Personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is examining police department financial records, removed financial documents from police headquarters and from the Pittsburgh police federal credit union a month earlier.
A press officer for Ravenstahl said the city would respond in court.
UPMC is the largest health care provider in Western Pennsylvania. Highmark has moved to counter that dominance with its $604 million purchase of West Penn Allegheny Health System, which the Pennsylvania Insurance Department approved in early May.
Pittsburgh last fall applied for the state Department of Community and Economic Development to remove the "distressed" label — and stigma — and exit the DCED's workout program for such communities, known commonly as Act 47.