The 120-lawyer firm has the expertise and experience needed, the chairman of the committee says.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Following the recommendation of its personnel committee, the arena board hired a large law firm with offices in Cleveland and Columbus to be its legal counsel.
With no dissenting votes, the board hired Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff, which has more than 120 lawyers, at its Thursday meeting. The firm's compensation still has to be negotiated with the board's finance committee.
That firm was one of four applicants to be the board's legal counsel. The others were Atty. Adlen Chevlen, and the law firms of Harrington, Hoppe and Mitchell and Manchester, Bennett, Powers and Ullman, all of Youngstown.
"They gave us a great deal of confidence that they could provide the services that we need to carry out this project, to protect the board and the community and give us good advice," William Binning, personnel committee chairman, said of the Benesch firm.
Experience: That firm has experience in environmental, sports and real estate law and convention center development, he added. "They have a variety of legal services that we're going to need over time at different stages of the project,'' he explained.
Binning said the personnel committee hopes to interview six of 13 people vying to become the arena board's office manager on July 24. All 13 applicants reside in the Mahoning Valley, he said.
Paul Lyden, a board member who has been working with city officials on preparing the board's office space, said he expects the board will occupy its office on the second floor of the city-owned Wick Building before Labor Day.
Assistance: Architect K. Anthony Hayek, director of architecture for MS Consultants of Youngstown, who worked on a proposal for a downtown Youngstown arena more than a decade ago, which was never built, offered to assist the board in any way he could. The board is overseeing development of an arena to be built with a $26 million federal grant and possible private funding.
In response to a question from Leonard Schiavone, board president, Hayek recalled that environmental problems were found on the site between the South Avenue and Market Street bridges, which city council favors for the arena, but he said he couldn't provide specifics.