Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ex-Allderdice Alumni Head Gets Probation in Theft Cases

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ex-Allderdice Alumni Head Gets Probation in Theft Cases

Article excerpt

As he stood Monday to be sentenced on 19 counts related to the theft of more than $230,000 from three organizations, the former president of the Taylor Allderdice High School Alumni Association proclaimed his innocence.

And when Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin G. Sasinoski ordered Jeffrey Rosenthal to serve 21 years of probation and pay restitution, Mr. Rosenthal blamed his conviction on his former attorney's failure to present essential evidence at trial last fall.

That attorney, Kevin Abramovitz, is facing criminal charges that he helped to cover up the drug overdose death of a friend and was using illegal substances.

Mr. Rosenthal and his new attorney, Chris Rand Eyster, believe that the circumstances surrounding Mr. Abramovitz's actions entitle him to a new trial.

"The point was, he was not represented effectively," Mr. Eyster said.

But Judge Sasinoski repeatedly cut off Mr. Eyster from presenting any of that information. Instead, at Mr. Rosenthal's sentencing hearing, each time the attorney got close to the issue of Mr. Abramovitz's pending criminal case, the judge stopped him.

"That's not an issue for today. That's for down the road," the judge said. "This is not a trial of Mr. Abramovitz."

Mr. Rosenthal, 64, did not testify at his trial, Mr. Eyster said, and even though Mr. Abramovitz told him they would call their own forensic accounting expert to counter the prosecution's evidence, they never did.

Mr. Abramovitz told the jury that there was no crime - just a lack of record-keeping and bookkeeping. Witnesses Monday said Mr. Rosenthal would spend his own money and then reimburse himself.

"We're not here concerning the trial tactics or strategy," Judge Sasinoski said at the sentencing hearing.

Instead, the judge forced the defense to address what punishment Mr. Rosenthal must serve.

A jury found the Squirrel Hill man guilty in October of forgery, receiving stolen property, theft by deception and misapplication of property from 2009 through 2015 from the Taylor Allderdice High School Alumni Association, from the 14th Ward Baseball Association and from the junior varsity baseball group.

Jeff Shook, vice president of the 14th Ward baseball group, said in a victim impact statement that Mr. Rosenthal's actions have caused distrust in the community, among kids playing baseball and among sponsors.

"The money that he took could have funded a variety of expenditures that would make the league stronger and the experience for kids better," Mr. Shook wrote. "While Jeff was president of the league we were consistently informed that money was not available for things like new equipment, extra baseballs, coaching supplies, field maintenance, or field upgrades."

But Mr. Eyster called several witnesses Monday who testified about his client's character relative to his contributions to the baseball organization. …

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