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MVSD Flask disbarment includes 'scarlet letter' designation



Published: Sat, May 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former MVSD director is facing a $2.4 million lawsuit filed by the state attorney general's office.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Edward A. Flask is no longer allowed to practice law and has been branded by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The court accepted the permanent surrender Friday of the convicted felon's law license with the designation "disciplinary action pending," said Alison Randall, the court's spokeswoman.

That provision equates to "a scarlet letter on his file," Randall said.

"If he was to ever seek reinstatement, it would show he did not have a clean resignation," she said. "His resignation has been accepted, but they [Supreme Court justices] have designated it with that scarlet letter. If he wanted to go to another state and say, 'Oh, I resigned from Ohio,' they could check here and find out he resigned, but he was under investigation for some kind of disciplinary action."

Official resignation: A Mahoning Valley Sanitary District board director from October 1986 to August 1997, Flask sent an affidavit last month to the Supreme Court voluntarily resigning as an attorney. The Poland resident has practiced law since 1966.

The court already had indefinitely suspended his law license in October pending an investigation. The resignation canceled that investigation.

Flask served 90 days in Trumbull County Jail after being convicted in September on nine charges related to improperly accepting $2 million in cash and gifts from vendors who did business with the water agency.

Flask was released from jail in January and is on three years' probation.

Loss of clients: He at one time was a partner in one of the Mahoning Valley's most prominent law firms but saw his business dry up after his August 1999 indictment.

Flask and Frank D. DeJute of Niles, another former MVSD director, face separate $2.4 million lawsuits filed by the Ohio attorney general's office.

The attorney general accuses the two of improperly paying Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island, a contractor who handled a $50 million capital improvement project at the MVSD, for construction work it never performed.

Flask's trial date is Sept. 24. DeJute, a nonlawyer who will defend himself, has an Oct. 22 trial date.

skolnick@vindy.com




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