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Pirko gets probation in Trum purchasing scheme



Published: Thu, October 26, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



In sentencing the repairman, the judge noted his lack of a prior criminal record.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN - Dennis Pirko, a former heating and air-conditioning repairman, has been sentenced to five years' probation for his involvement in the Trumbull County purchasing scandal.

In addition to probation, Judge John M. Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court today ordered Pirko, 58, to perform 100 hours of community service. He has made restitution of 3,500.

Pirko of Gladstone Road, North Jackson, pleaded guilty in July to 13 felony and misdemeanor charges.

He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of theft for double-billing that cost the county about 3,500. He also pleaded guilty to six counts of bribery for writing checks to former county maintenance director Tony Delmont totaling 5,900.

In addition, he admitted to five felony counts of failure to file state income tax forms for five years. He will be required to file amended tax returns.

Pirko is among a number of people who admitted involvement in the scandal, including Delmont, who was sentenced to a three-year prison term.

Chris Becker, an assistant county prosecutor, has said that Pirko admitted giving money to Delmont to keep doing business with the county.

Prosecutions in the purchasing scheme came after investigators discovered that vendors and Delmont had bilked the county out of 400,000 by overpaying for janitorial services and supplies.

In sentencing Pirko, the judge said that he is required to consider probation, especially since Pirko has no prior criminal record.

Judge Stuard admitted not everybody will be pleased with placing Pirko on probation, rather than giving him a prison sentence.

Pirko's lawyer, Don L. Hanni Jr., said he has known his client since he was born. Hanni explained that he had worked with Pirko's father in a steel mill. A single man, Hanni told the court that Pirko now cares for his elderly father.

Hanni said Pirko, however, demonstrated "negligence and stupidity" by becoming involved in the illegal activity.

In asking the judge that his client be placed on probation, Hanni told the court that Pirko "is not the run-of-the-mill criminal."

yovich@vindy.com




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