Gains is with majorityon foreclosure issue
The recent editorial criticizing Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains' objections to in rem foreclosures is misplaced. Cuyahoga County engaged in the practice of in rem foreclosures until 1983 when the Cuyahoga County treasurer lost a lawsuit filed by an individual who did not receive the constitutionally mandated notice of the foreclosure. Cuyahoga County was ordered by Judge Aldrich to pay attorney fees incurred by that person. Judge Aldrich's ruling, which was based on a United States Supreme Court decision of the same year, was to effectively nullify the Ohio statue which allows for in rem foreclosures.
Although 11 counties in Ohio practice in rem foreclosures, the vast majority (77) of counties do not. Any purchaser of real estate which is the subject of an in rem foreclosure does not have the benefit of a title guarantee.
Because Cleveland has the same problem with vacant lots as Youngstown, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office and the City of Cleveland collaborated in creating a Land Bank Program which is permitted by law. As a result of that collaboration, the City of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office and the Cuyahoga County Treasurer's Office pledged the necessary manpower and funds to the Land Bank. It has been a tremendous success. When Mahoning County elected to initiate a Land Bank Program, my office provided advice and assistance to the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office. It is now available in Mahoning County.
The role of the county prosecutor is to inform county officials of the law as well as the risk and exposure to taxpayers, regardless of political ramifications. The criticism leveled at Prosecutor Gains is unfounded.
WILLIAM D. MASON
X The writer is Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney.
Accused firefighterentitled to due process
In a letter published recently, Atty. Edward Saadi questions why Firefighter James DiMuzio was not immediately terminated after being accused of brutally attacking him. As an officer of the court, Mr. Saadi should understand that an accusation, even an indictment, is not synonymous with being found guilty in a court of law. As of this writing, Mr. DiMuzio has not been found guilty of this or any other felonious act he may have been accused of while he was employed by the City of Youngstown Fire Department.
Mr. Saadi criticized Chief John O'Neill, calling for his resignation because of his inaction in this case. However, Chief O'Neill is bound to adhere to the rules and grievance procedures outlined in the collective bargaining agreement between the city of Youngstown and its fire department. According to that contract, an employee cannot be fired solely on the basis of an accusation brought against him.
Chief O'Neill had already discussed this situation with union officials as well as with the city law department. If Mr. DiMuzio had been found guilty of these charges, he would have been terminated immediately.
However, because he has yet to be brought to trial, Mr. DiMuzio has not been convicted and has subsequently retired on disability, thereby entitling him to all earned pension monies and the buyout offered by the city. I believe Chief O'Neill acted prudently in this matter by not firing Mr. DiMuzio prematurely, thus compounding the situation.
If Mr. Saadi is looking for somewhere to place the blame, he should look to the court system of which he is a part, and ask why this case has been postponed time and time again. He will also find that all previous charges against Mr. DiMuzio have either been dismissed or settled out of court.
DAVID L. LEETCH
X The writer is a captain in the Youngstown Fire Department.