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Many politicians to testify for DeJute



Published: Wed, November 21, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The trial of the former MVSD board director is scheduled to begin Dec. 17.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

WARREN -- Frank D. DeJute plans to call a who's who list of Trumbull County politicians as witnesses on his behalf in a $2.4 million civil lawsuit filed by the Ohio attorney general's office.

The state accuses the former board director of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District of overpaying a contractor handling capital improvement projects at the water agency.

DeJute's list includes Trumbull Sheriff Thomas Altiere, county Commissioner Joseph Angelo, county Prosecutor Dennis Watkins, county Auditor David Hines, Judge W. Wyatt McKay of common pleas court, Warren Mayor Hank Angelo and Niles Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr.

Others: The list also includes:

UOhio Auditor Jim Petro, whose office conducted a special audit of the MVSD that accuses the water agency of overpaying $2.4 million to the Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island.

UJohn Hallock, former MVSD board secretary-treasurer.

UDavid F. McLain, a former Trumbull County judge who appointed DeJute to the MVSD board.

UJohn R. Gargano, former MVSD legal counsel.

UStanley Dombroski, a Columbus-based attorney who negotiated the Gilbane contract for the water district.

UMVSD board member Matthew Blair and former MVSD board member Edward A. Flask.

UJack O'Connell, a former Youngstown State University trustee and local labor leader.

UWilliam Reali, whose accounting firm conducted an annual audit of the district on behalf of the state.

DeJute, of Niles, who is defending himself, declined to discuss the witness list.

What happened: The attorney general filed three separate $2.4 million lawsuits against DeJute, Flask of Poland, and Gilbane. Gilbane was the construction manager for the $50 million capital improvement project at the water agency under the watch of DeJute and Flask.

A 1997 special state audit of the district contends DeJute and Flask improperly paid $2.4 million to Gilbane for work it never performed at the MVSD.

A federal judge threw out the Gilbane lawsuit last month saying the payment was not illegal. Flask filed for bankruptcy before his civil case started, causing its suspension. DeJute's case is set for Dec. 17.

State's list: The witness list filed by the attorney general's office in the DeJute case includes:

ULeonard G. Palaibis and Daniel E. Schultz, assistant state auditors involved with the MVSD audit.

UGilbane company executives Mark M. Hill, Steven G. Honzo and Edward R. Valentine.

UFormer Gilbane project executive William R. DiMarino.

UMVSD Chief Engineer David G. Tabak, MVSD Treasurer Alan Tatalovich and Erich Kist, former MVSD superintendent of pumping.

UJohn C. Mascaro, president of a Pittsburgh subcontracting company for the MVSD capital improvement project.

UPatrick Ungaro, mayor of Youngstown during Flask's and DeJute's tenures on the board.

URobert D. Kelly of Summit Consulting Services, an independent expert to discuss the Gilbane payments.

UJudge Maureen Cronin, who served on the MVSD court of jurisdiction and had asked the state auditor to investigate the agency.




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