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Aide: Unaware of candidate's job

The ex-campaign chief testified in the trial of Sean Ramaley, accused of having a no-work job.

HARRISBURG - A former campaign manager testified yesterday that he didn't know the legislative aide he was trying to get elected to the state House of Representatives was on the state payroll and never noticed him doing any government work.

Erik Komendant, who said he was hired by the House Democratic Campaign Committee to oversee Sean Ramaley's general-election campaign, testified for the prosecution at Ramaley's trial, the first spawned by the state attorney general's investigation into alleged corruption in the Legislature.

Prosecutors contend then-House Democratic Whip Michael Veon gave Ramaley a no-work government job in the months before the 2004 election.

But Komendant also said Ramaley's campaign was primarily run out of an office in a house Ramaley owns in Baden and a consolidated headquarters in Ambridge shared by other Democratic candidates.

Ramaley is accused of taking a no-work job with Veon that paid him $2,500 a month in exchange for working hard to win the election. Ramaley is charged with four counts of theft, one count of conflict of interest and one count of conspiracy.

Also yesterday, two former top state House Democratic staff aides testified for the prosecution, answering questions about the payment of bonuses to staff members and hiring practices in the House Democratic caucus.

The aides - Michael Manzo, the former chief of staff to then-Democratic leader Bill DeWeese, and Jennifer Brubaker, the caucus' former legislative research director - have signed plea agreements pledging to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for having some charges dropped.