The attorney general's setbacks in two similar lawsuits led the former MVSD director to take this action.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Edward A. Flask, who had filed last year for bankruptcy to protect himself from a $2.4 million civil lawsuit from the Ohio Attorney General's Office, is now seeking to dismiss the case.
The reason is the attorney general has suffered major setbacks in two similar lawsuits and Flask, a former Mahoning Valley Sanitary District board director, believes those decisions would lead to a favorable ruling for him in his suit, said Andrew W. Suhar, his bankruptcy attorney.
"That has a lot to do with it," Suhar said. "Eddie's an attorney who knows what's going on, and after careful consideration, he decided to address this in state court."
Elaine Greaves, a trustee appointed by U.S. Bankruptcy Court to this case, has given Flask's creditors until July 18 to raise any objections to the request to dismiss.
"Our attorneys are looking at Mr. Flask's most recent filing and we're exploring our options," said Joe Case, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "The state wants to leave itself with as much flexibility as possible to be in a position to recover these funds at the end of the day. This is just yet another chapter in this saga. We continue to make it known that this is far from over."
Filed for protection
Flask, of Poland, filed for protection from his creditors Oct. 19, three days before the $2.4 million civil case was to begin. Flask, a former attorney, cited the $2.4 million lawsuit and unpaid legal and court fees from his criminal trial as the main liabilities on his bankruptcy filing.
The filing caused the civil suit to be postponed until Flask's bankruptcy was resolved.
Similar lawsuits filed by the attorney general against Frank D. DeJute of Niles, another former MVSD board director, and the Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island, which served as construction manager on $50 million worth of capital improvements at the water agency, have been dismissed.
In his filing with the bankruptcy court, Flask's attorney wrote that the attorney general's lawsuit is "far less threatening" now than it was when the protection was first sought. The attorney general's office had fought Flask's bankruptcy filing questioning the validity of the claim.
In his bankruptcy filing, Flask listed $2,598,941 in liabilities and $15,801.90 in personal property assets. Flask, who lives with his daughter, wrote that he is a self-employed consultant earning about $3,000 a month with $3,832 in monthly expenses.