The recent death of a Slippery Rock landlord has left the community shocked and divided.
Frank Monteleone Jr. shot and killed himself next to the back entrance of the Slippery Rock borough building Saturday night.
Bonnie Davis, his girlfriend of 17 years, said that his death was completely unexpected and that Monteleone had never shown any signs of depression.
“He just made arrangements to go away on New Years Eve and Thanksgiving the day before,” Davis said. “On Friday, we went out Christmas shopping.”
Davis explained that since Monteleone’s death, some people have had concerns with signing a lease with the Monteleone Apartments.
“There’s going to be no changes, it’s going to be run the same as it has been. My daughter’s been helping me, my son has been coming up. Everything will stay the same.
Davis stated that she believes that Monteleone committed suicide in front of the borough building because he frequently got in arguments with council members who would ignore his opinions on public matters.
“He’s been fighting this council for years now and it just got to him,” said Larry McCool, owner of Slippery Rock Sportswear. “You can’t get anywhere with them, they don’t care about anybody. That’s what he fought and I guess he couldn’t handle it anymore.”
The most recent disagreement between Monteleone and the borough council was over the council’s decision last September to move the bulk trash days from May to March.
“He’s worked so hard to try and get the bulk trash pickup day back for students because the students pay [for] garbage [pickup], they deserve to have the bulk pickup in May,” Davis said. “He fought tooth and nail for it.”
“A lot of people claim that decision [to change the bulk trash pickup day] was motivated against [Monteleone] because some of the borough council members didn’t like him, so they wanted to get even with him,” explained council member and SRU English professor Dr. Itzi Meztli.
Council member Bob Bowser agreed that Monteleone has helped the community, but he also had concerns about him.
“Frank did a lot of good for the community, he donated a lot of money to people,” explained Bowser. “But in the last several months, he showed a side of himself that needed help.”
Tuesday, the borough had a meeting related to discussing a new budget and advertising initiatives. Before the meeting began Davis handed out stickers featuring a photograph of Monteleone. Meztli proposed standing up and having a moment of silence in honor of Monteleone.
Bowser objected to it, saying that Monteleone threatened to shoot the council.
After a moment of silence was held, the council member stated the council sent their thoughts and hearts to the Monteleone family.
David’s daughter Victoria Crawford commented about she didn’t think it was sincere.
“It might be [sincere] from them, but not from me,” Bowser responded.
Two people from the audience shouted, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself” at Bowser.
Slippery Rock borough Chief of Police Terry Fedokovitz stopped the argument by saying, “You have to keep some order here. Whether you liked the man or hated him, respected him or not, it’s a human life that was lost. You cannot disrespect the people on either side.”
Although Bowser did apologize for not wanting a moment of silence, he stood by his opinion that Monteleone threatened him and the council in letters that Monteleone published through paid advertisements in the Butler Eagle.
One of the specific advertisements Bowser mentioned titled “Government Bullying Must Stop!” was published in the Butler Eagle on June 3.
The advertisement began with a story about how a man once approached Monteleone and said, “someone is going to go postal in this town someday and pull a Clay Duke.”
The man then explained to Monteleone, “[Duke] is the guy who took a gun to the Florida School Board.” He continued to say that he hopes that nothing similar happens here, and that “shootings happen every day from bullying.”
Monteleone then stated that what that man said was what inspired him to write to the Butler Eagle about how government bullying should get public attention like cyber bullying and bullying at schools. He then listed several examples of times that he believed the borough council bullied himself and other during the borough meeting. Monteleone concluded his article by stating that he plans to give back to the community by stopping government bullying before his retirement.
“Most mental health professionals I’ve talked to over the last four months have agreed with me,” Bowser said. “I’ve had 30 people call me [and ask], ‘why hasn’t he been arrested yet?’”
“He said that somebody approached him and said that they better be careful that somebody doesn’t shoot the council,” Bowser said. “Well, if somebody did that and pushed [Monteleone] why didn’t he take that to the authorities? Why did he sit on it and take it out in the Butler Eagle?”
There will be a viewing open to everyone at the Smith Funeral Home on 421 New Castle St., Slippery Rock, Pa on Friday Nov. 22 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. and on Saturday Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. At 12 p.m. the service will begin.