NILES Officers get pay, will end lawsuit

The officer said payment was received in full this past weekend.
NILES -- A lawsuit against a local contractor will be dropped this week after the businessman paid his debt to local police officers.
Shawn Crank, Niles traffic officer and assistant director of the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, filed a small-claims suit last week in Niles Municipal Court against Rhino Excavating and Milling Inc. of Girard.
The suit alleged the company failed to pay $2,595 to city officers and deputy sheriffs who worked traffic detail during a road construction project last year.
"We were paid over the weekend, so we will be dropping the suit," Crank said.
He added the payment would be distributed among all the officers involved before the suit would be dismissed, probably sometime today.
Michael Malvasi Jr., owner of Rhino Excavating, could not be reached to comment.
The suit contended two deputies and eight officers worked a total of 861/2 hours Oct. 18-19 and 23-25 at a rate of $30 per hour -- $25 for officers and $5 for the vehicle -- on Robbins Avenue.
Rhino worked as a subcontractor on the project last year, which required sections of the road to be closed while workers installed curbs, sidewalks and driveway approaches, as well as performed other work.
Niles city ordinance requires contractors to provide traffic control when road projects close any portion of a thoroughfare, but allows for companies to use either flaggers or officers.
The union had made several attempts to get the payment from Rhino, but was ignored; in a letter to city council, Crank said the union was ready to refuse future work for Rhino until all the officers were paid in full.
"This should be taken into consideration before awarding any contracts to Rhino Construction," the letter said.
Officers and the hours they were paid for are: Deputies Jeff McFalls, for 41/2 hours, and Kelly Boyle, for 141/2 hours, and Niles police officers Crank, 51/2 hours; Rich Bailey, two hours; Rich Bayless, 101/2 hours; Kevin Helmick, 221/2 hours; Dan Myers, 111/2 hours; Les Nagy, 51/2 hours; Jim Robbins, 51/2 hours; and Jim Villecco, 41/2 hours.

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