Valley's shameful have no shame
The one thing that can be said about the Mahoning Valley's white-collar criminals is that they have no shame. Rather than crawling into spidey holes after they've admitted to or been found guilty of their crimes, they go about their lives as if nothing untoward has happened.
And then, just when you think they couldn't be any more brazen, bam!
Take the case of Herman Hill, the city of Youngstown's Human Relations Commission's director of business development and compliance via a contract the city has with the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Development Corp.
Hill is a former member of city council who is a founder of The Progressive Leadership Coalition Political Action Committee. The goal of the committee? To become actively involved in Youngstown and Mahoning County politics.
As Hill explained it, the Progressive Leadership Coalition PAC would encourage the county Democratic and Republican parties to support qualified candidates for political office. The committee especially wants minorities to become engaged.
The PAC will endorse candidates in the upcoming May primary when all seven city council seats and a municipal court judgeship are up for grabs.
According to Hill, the committee is dedicated to developing, encouraging and supporting policies that positively impact Youngstown and Mahoning County. Who can argue with such a worthy goal?
But here's the kicker that cannot be ignored: During his tenure as the 3rd Ward councilman, Hill compiled a record -- literally. In 1997, he was sentenced for theft in office and served 10 days in a halfway house for using a fake receipt to cover up his use of a city credit card to withdraw more than 2,400 to buy a computer for his personal use.
Eight years later, his criminal record was sealed by Judge C. Ashley Pike of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Hill's lawyer, Walter Madison, called the crime "an aberration" in his client's life, and noted that since his legal troubles he had obtained a master's degree.
So, why bring up Hill's past now? Because his political activities make his record fair game. After all, when you serve as chairman of a political action committee that intends to endorse candidates, the public needs to know from whence you came.
Indeed, Hill worked on Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams' 2005 campaign in which the political novice ran as an independent. Williams defeated Democratic heavyweight Robert F. Hagan in the general election.
The other members of the PAC are Jamael Tito Brown, executive director of the Human Relations Commission and a member of the Youngstown Board of Education who served as Williams' campaign manager; Jason Whitehead, the mayor's chief of staff/secretary; and, Harry L. Johnson III, hired by Williams to serve as the manager and auditor of the Youngstown Water Department.
Then there was the attempt by former Girard schools Superintendent Joseph M. "Hey, baby, let's party!" Shoaf to secure an early release from prison.
In 2003, Shoaf pleaded guilty to charges of corrupting another with drugs, intimidation of a witness and possession of cocaine. By throwing in the legal towel, he was spared a possible 16-year sentence. Instead, he got a five-year term. However, Shoaf recently filed a motion in court seeking to be released a year early so he could take a laborer's job in Wickliffe.
For those whose hearts are bleeding for this predator, consider: The charges of corrupting another with drugs, intimidation of a witness and possessing cocaine were filed after a female student -- yes, a student -- tape-recorded herself and Shoaf using cocaine in his high school office, drinking vodka and talking of sex. Her boyfriend took the tape to police.
Indeed, in opposing Shoaf's motion for early release, Chuck Morrow, assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, offered this insight into the then superintendent's extracurricular activities: "During school hours, he used his position of authority to summon the girls from class to his office located at the Girard High School. After earning their trust, he provided them with both cocaine and alcohol."
Fortunately, Judge Andrew Logan of the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court told the degenerate to go pound ... rocks. Sniff, sniff!
Finally, there's disgraced Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Patrick Kerrigan, who has applied for a state job. Enough said.