Traficant attracts sell-out to dinner

By David Skolnick

The former congressman may show up at the appreciation dinner Sunday, organizers say.

YOUNGSTOWN — Organizers of Sunday’s Jim Traficant Appreciation Dinner are confident the guest of honor will make an appearance at the event.

“There’s a 90-percent chance he’ll be there,” said Tony Trolio, one of the event’s organizers.

“We’re really excited about the event.”

Linda Kovachik, a family friend who used to work for the former congressman, agreed with the 90-percent figure.

“Jim’s the kind of guy who shows appreciation to his supporters,” said Kovachik, who’s also organizing the event.

There will be plenty of supporters at the event from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.

Organizers were selling 1,200 tickets, at $20 each, for the event. As of Friday afternoon, about 1,150 were sold, they said.

There are only a handful of tickets left, and those should be gone by today, Kovachik said.

James A. Traficant Jr., who served 17 years in Congress, was released Wednesday from the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., after spending more than seven years in a federal prison.

Traficant, of Poland, is believed to be back in the Mahoning Valley.

“He’s with his family. He needs a little private time” is all Kovachik would say about Traficant’s whereabouts.

Tish, Traficant’s wife, has repeatedly declined requests to comment on her husband.

Traficant didn’t grant an interview to any member of the media while he served seven years in prison. He’s continued to avoid the media since his Wednesday release.

Traficant was convicted in 2002 of 10 felony counts, including racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion.

During his time in Congress he was known as one of its most colorful members for his unique clothing — including a denim suit — as well as his toupee and his outrageous comments.

He was only the second member of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War.

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