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Same Old Jimbo



Published: Mon, September 7, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

The former congressman promises significant revelations on a Fox News show Friday night.

By David Skolnick

Traficant, released Wednesday from federal prison, told the crowd of about 1,200 that he came to the event because of the overwhelming support he’s received.

“You’ve been too supportive for me to fail to show,” he said.

It was Traficant’s first public appearance since his release. He called in to an outdoors radio program on WKBN-AM on Saturday.

Traficant began speaking at 5:03 p.m. Sunday at an event that included a polka band and an Elvis Presley impersonator.

Quoting Nelson Mandela, Traficant said: “If you want to know the true nature of a country, you must go through its prisons.”

“I know America. I’ve seen the other side of it, and I don’t like it.”

Mandela is the former president of South Africa who had served 27 years in prison in that country for speaking out against its government.

Traficant, of Poland, also criticized the U.S. government for being “involved in wars with very little interest for ourselves. Our children are being shipped back in body bags. Nobody’s opening their mouth because people fear our government.”

Traficant urged those at the event to take control of the country.

“I’ve been hounded by some government people for a long time,” he said.

During his nearly nine terms in Congress, Traficant was known for his criticism of the government, particularly in one-minute speeches he delivered on the House floor.

It was a different floor Sunday, but Traficant held little back as the enthusiastic crowd repeatedly cheered.

Traficant also made a number of quips that drew laughs from theaudience.

“This is not meant to be light or funny. You probably have IRS agents and FBI agents writing down your license plates,” he said in a dead-pan style to loud laughter.

A jury in April 2002 found Traficant guilty of 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion. He was sentenced in July of that year to eight years in prison. He got out Wednesday with his sentence reduced for good time. He is on supervised release for three years.

“I was a quarterback [in high school and college], I was a congressman and I’m a convict,” he said. “I have one hell of a pedigree.”

Traficant not only wouldn’t apologize, he said the federal government “had to cheat to convict me.”

Traficant said he’ll appear Friday on Fox News’ “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren,” at 10 p.m. for his first interview.

Traficant appeared on Van Susteren’s show a few times prior to heading to prison in 2002.

Traficant promised to make “some significant statements” on the show.

He said Sunday that he couldn’t do that with “an opposing print media here” because his message would be “diluted.”

He also took another shot at the local print media saying: “Like buggy whips, their future’s in jeopardy.”

Traficant then proceeded to discuss those issues he said he’s saving for Van Susteren’s show:

- The loss of pensions and health care insurance for Delphi’s retired salary employees.

“If we can take care of people all over the world, damn it, take care of our people here,” Traficant said.

Traficant, who took up painting while in prison, donated three pieces he painted — of a horse, Presley and Betty Boop — to the Delphi retirees group so it can auction them to raise money to help the cause.

- The ongoing case of John Demjanjuk, an elderly retired Cleveland-area autoworker deported to Germany earlier this year to stand trial as a Nazi concentration camp guard.

While a congressman, Traficant fought for Demjanjuk, who had his death sentence in Israel for being the infamous “Ivan the Terrible” death camp guard, overturned.

- The case of Nnamdi Okolo, a Nigerian national, who Traficant said he met in a federal prison. Okolo, Traficant said, was pressured to testify against him and Traficant’s co-conspirator, Richard Detore, but refused to do so. Detore was acquitted. Traficant said Okolo was deported for refusing to testify.

As for Traficant’s future, he said, “I do not know what the future will hold.”

After his speech, Traficant, with a huge smile on his face, met with those at Sunday’s event at length, speaking with them, sharing hugs and well-wishes, and signing autographs.

Attempts to have a band play after Traficant finished speaking were futile. A chance to see or speak to Traficant was the reason most of those in attendance paid $20 to be there.

“It was everything I imagined it would be and so much more,” said Linda

Kovachik, a family friend, a former Traficant staffer and an organizer of Sunday’s event.

There were very few elected officeholders at Sunday’s event. A number of elected officials and the head of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber had criticized the gathering saying it wasn’t appropriate to honor a criminal who hurt the reputation of the Mahoning Valley.

Among the elected officials at Sunday’s dinner was Boardman Trustee Kathy Miller, who helped collect tickets.

She said Traficant had helped her on many occasions in the past and she was there to show her support.

Werner Lange of Newton Falls, a longtime Traficant supporter, said: “It’s a joyous day. The crucifixion is over and the resurrection will begin and maybe the insurrection. Jim used to be America’s No. 1 political prisoner. He is now American’s No. 1 working class hero.”

Also at the event was former Mahoning County Commissioner Frank Lordi, sentenced in 1999 to an 18-month prison sentence on a theft-in-office

conviction. Lordi was convicted of having two county building

inspectors pick up political petitions while on county time. The value ofthe time was estimated at only $200.

“You can’t appreciate your freedom until you lose it,” Lordi said. “It’s seven years he can’t get back. I’m really happy for him.”

Lordi said he’s always been impressed with Traficant’s “willingness to takea stand and go against the grain. Too many politicians go with the flow. Hewas always willing to take on a battle.”

Also in attendance Sunday was Columbiana County Republican Chairman DavidJohnson, who spent years trying to find GOP candidates to take on Traficant.

“I would support [Traficant] tomorrow if he ran for Congress,” Johnson said.

“The thing I liked about Traficant was his independent streak. He was amaverick. He spoke for the people of this area who were fed up with how the federal government took us for granted.”

skolnick@vindy.com


Comments

1Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 5 years ago

“I would support [Traficant] tomorrow if he ran for Congress,” Johnson said.

===

Ditto.

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2westside(47 comments)posted 5 years ago

Bimbo Jimbo

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3joseph(46 comments)posted 5 years ago

Penguin must be a low income bum. Those are the only people making ridiculous statements like that.

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4block50(128 comments)posted 5 years ago

Once again this area will become the laughing stock of the nation. He's back one week and I'm sick of him already.

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years ago

Welcome home Jimbo. It was great to see you out and about again. Time for you to kick that worthless piece of you know what Timmy Ryan out of your seat in Congress. We need you more then ever today!!!

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6Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years ago

Kathy Miller said Traficant had helped her on many occasions in the past and she was there to show her support. Hope the media can find out what Jim helped her with. Will her statement be proven to be just more hollow canned crap from a politician going for her third term in office?

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71jimbofan(2 comments)posted 5 years ago

Welcome home Mr Trafficant! You were greatly missed. I hope you can see how much you are loved! Stay strong, there are still those jealous people out there who will continue to try to keep you down but we know you wont let them!
Thank you

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8timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years ago

Glad your out Jimbo! Your comment about Mandela is so true. I for one will support you if you decide to seek Public Office. We have two loser and yes men representing us or should I say them seleves. That's Ryan and Wilson. Ya know I not a big Dave Johnson fan,but I liked his comment.If Republicans like him can be swayed to common sense maybe there's hope for the rest of the bunch can too! But I'm not holding my breath. Jimbo when and if you decide to represent the Public you'll have my vote and if you decide to stay retired I just want you to know Thanks For Representing The Common Person. Your a WINNER!

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9SWEETEDDIE(35 comments)posted 5 years ago

NICE TO SEE YOU HOME JIMMY,GET OUT THEIR AND GIVE THEM HELL.I KNOW WE WILL BE READING ALOT ABOUT YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE,MAKE IT HURT THOSE WHO NEED IT...GOOD LUCK JIM...I WOULD VOTE FOR YOU AGAIN IN A MINUTE

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

Well I see possibilities for Jim to open a Traficant museum and art gallery . Room is available at exit 223 off I 80 . An excellent place to get the tourists and locals who get on route 46 who go to the strip joints, truck stops and restaurants .

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11Erplane(483 comments)posted 5 years ago

I'm surprised Traficant's ego could fit in the same room with all the supporters. He suckered the Valley for 20 years, and it looks like he's going to try again. Thank God that most of the Valley has moved on and has seen what a real congressman can do.

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12dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 5 years ago

Anyone is better than the coward Charlie Wilson who won't meet with his constituents. As for Tim Ryan, what exactly was his job before he got elected to Congress? Because whatever it was, he sure must not want to go back there. He will do and say whatever Pelosi tells him, and she will make sure he gets just enough government money for this area to buy his re-election.

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13AceMarketing101(11 comments)posted 5 years ago

I am no Jim Trafficant supporter, and as a marketing guy, he is a PR nightmare for the valley, however I do have an open mind and do believe he was able to "TALK" a good game about what was right and fighting for the underdog. For that reason, he would be great on talk radio and I recommend him replacing Rush Limbaugh on WKBN.

Things that amaze me: People would vote for a convicted felon because, 'he did so much good for the vallley.' Think people! It was HIS JOB to do good for the Valley, you can still do your job and be a thief!! No different from having an accountant that makes sure you get the most out of your taxes each year, he is doing his job, but he uses the same loopholes to steal from his clients and is convicted. Still did good accounting for his people,but he is a crook and should not be trusted with money again. Jim is still a crook and should not be trusted with public office again.

Second excuse I hear, 'He is not as crooked as so and so.' Okay, so you are telling me you like crooked people, felons, law breakers, but only if they break the law a little bit. How embarrasing is that thinking? You are saying, well, yea, he is a crook, but he is not as big a crook as him, so lets still vote in a crook!

I can appreciate passion by his friends, but passion should not intefere with reason and common sense. over 200 of the Congressmen who voted him out are still in Congress, do you think ANY of them will work for him? He would be a powerless legislator. Support him as a free man who paid his debt, but not as a hero that should be voted back in to office, that is pure stupidity. He would be ineffective, and he is NOT a rehabilitated felon, as last night shows, he is the same person that went into jail. So sad.

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14ohnose(16 comments)posted 5 years ago

Jim got 20% of the vote on his way to jail...If Ryan moves up to somewhere with the governor, I can really see Traficant getting back to Congress...Traficant is one of those guys that rubs people the wrong way...But i would rather have the area aka Youngstown loooked at as having an ex-convict as congressman rather than the number one dying city in America whose population has decreased double digits every year since 1960..

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15Wanto1014(12 comments)posted 5 years ago

I was there last night at the event and he looked as great as ever!! I believe he should run for State Senate or for the State Representative seat. Traficant would easily win his district for either legislative seat. We will welcome you with open arms in Columbus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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16TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years ago

Seven years behind bars and his mouth hasn't stopped, and he never admittted his guilt. Just goes to show you that he was definitely TOO CHEAP to pay for a good attorney to defend himself. This guy is a "has-been" and his supporters are just grasping for a "life line". To all his supporters, if you didn;t notice Idora closed years ago, and the blast furnaces are not going to start back up; and.....Atlantic Mills doesn't exist anymore on the North Side. Quit living in the past by going to visit you grandchildren that live out of town.

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17ytownpunk(26 comments)posted 5 years ago

Cry, cry, cry about the government. What a paranoid, lunatic libertarian nutcase he has become. Look, Jim, your downfall is all on you here. You could have hired proper representation and came up with compelling evidence to support your claims. But you did none of it and conveniently appealed to the lunatic fringe.

If you're going to claim this Nigerian was told to lie on the stand, well I want evidence buddy. Call him up. Write him a letter. Your word is worthless.

As for your demonizing of "newspapers" I'm glad that these institutions are in place to keep an eye on your bloated claims. A free press is a healthy America and the one you seek to have sounds more fascist in nature.

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18dominoman777(57 comments)posted 5 years ago

i,ll vote 4 you jimmy

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19xytown(63 comments)posted 5 years ago

Unbelievable!! This ex-con loser apparently suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder isn't out of the federal funny farm one week and he's already running his mouth and seeking publicity.

Now he will go on national TV and continue to embarass Y-Town and the Mahoning Valley. Maybe he and Mark Dann can start a syndicated radio talk show called "Nut's R Us" ......

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20What_the_Heck(34 comments)posted 5 years ago

As usual many of you assume that because the Government convicted him that he was guilty. The government gets a 99% conviction rate because they are the Government and not because they are always right. Can anyone really believe that every time they won they were right and the person was guilty? I doubt that they are perfect. Look at how they operate. Would we be in the position the country is in if they were that good? I don’t think so. I am glad he is out and I hope he can set the record straight. WKBN if you want your listener ship to go off the chart, put Jim Traficant on in Limbaugh’s spot and watch what happens. I know not everyone likes Jim but look at how many people hate Mangino and Verb. People will listen. Limbaugh on the other hand, I have to change the channel from noon to 3:00. People that fear the Government believe every thing that say and do is right. That is the most dangerous thing I can think of. Jim Traficant is the ORIGINAL MAVERICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way before it was popular to be one.

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21IraqWarVet(2 comments)posted 5 years ago

Its a shame that a convicted felon gets a welcome home party fit for our men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. How many of Jimbo's faithful greeted an airplane at the 910th Airlift Wing with our returning heroes?

I am proud to say that I grew up in the valley and will never return. I am not proud to admit ties to a region that has been plagued with corrupt politicians. Its sad to say that the Mahoning Valley had enough elected officials in prison at one time to establish a satellite govt in the federal prison system. Sad state of affairs!

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22redvert(2064 comments)posted 5 years ago

I was not living in this area for the 40 years prior to his conviction. I did not follow area politics that closely so I can not honestly judge him. The one thing I do remember him doing that I have never heard any politician do was when he stated that he would have to vote against something Clinton wanted. His reason was that the proposal would hurt the people that he represented.

Politicians are supposed to support what their constituents want whether they believe in the issue or not. None of them do that and we accept it because we seem to of forgotten what the term representative means. 80% of us just vote the straight party ticket. Only 20% of us actually determine who wins or loses.

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23columbus1(5 comments)posted 5 years ago

You know, the people of the District of Columbia were idiots several years back when they re-elected Marion Barry as Mayor after police video showed him smoking crack.Seems you fine people of Youngstown are proving you are as big an idiot as the people in DC. Incidents like this remind me why I moved the heck of Mahoning County.

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24Viewpoint(89 comments)posted 5 years ago

Does anyone remember Jim Trafficant as Mahoning County Sheriff, refusing to deliver foreclosure notices to the homeowners? Further more did he not position police cars to block others from delivering those notices? Now that is a gutsy maverick that is out for the common man!!!!!

Another classic example of how the gulible public was swayed into believing Traficant was a good guy. He only pulled that stunt for publicity and his own glorification. As soon as the court threatened him with contempt, that dog and pony show was over.
And where is the compassion for those who are and were investors in the banks? Did you have a savings account or own any stock in one of them? Well if you did, he was trying to prevent you from gaining a return on your investment by protecting some deadbeat.

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25Erplane(483 comments)posted 5 years ago

IraqWarVet - Thanks for your service to this great country. I suggest you read today's WashingtonPost story on Traficant. It does a nice job of painting the Valley as it is today. Many many people have moved on from him. Its a vocal MINORITY that supports him.

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26susan66(1 comment)posted 5 years ago

Welcome back Mr. Trafficant. You have been missed. Too bad we didnt have 50 more guys like you in the house, maybe this country wouldn't be in the direction its going. If anyone actually believes this country is going in the right direction, you better go to church and take off the blinders because the one world government is coming. If we had more guys like Jim in office, this country would not be where it is today. Because everyone is so afraid to open their mouths, unlike Mr. Trafficant, our government has become too big and too arrogant.

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27mooneyhigh(7 comments)posted 5 years ago

He went to Cardinal Mooney of course he's a great guy!

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28MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

He is no Nelson Mandella and he is not Jesus reincarnate (" The crucifixion is over and the resurrection will begin and maybe the insurrection.")

His supporters just keep proving their ignorance with comments like those above. He is not a hero. He was not a political prisoner, he was a multiple felon. And he was not persecuted for his beliefs he was prosecuted for his crimes.

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29MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

Several years ago when Traficant was still in office I went to Columbus to address a task force headed by the Lieutenant Governor and attended by a number of State Representatives. When I introduced myself and said where I was from someone asked if that was Traficant's district and when I replied yes, the room burst into laughter followed by selveral comments along the lines of "Sorry to hear that". Is THAT what you want for our Valley? Another round of embarrassment and ridicule? Not me!

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30ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years ago

As a fellow Mooney alumnus, please do not hold Traficant against a school that has graduated many students to become officers in the US military, doctors, lawyers, teachers & a plethora of upstanding, law abiding contributors to this country & its citizens. It is mortifying that he will be on Fox News this week & begin a downward spiral in PR for our Valley that has been striving so hard to promote a progressive & positive image. It is downright sad & discouraging that his voice might prevail above all others who actually have ideas that would lead to real plans to promote this Valley. Let's get out of the past ridden with crime & embarrassment & work toward real solutions for unemployment & the betterment of Ytown schools. FYI: His photos have already made us a laughingstock on HuffingtonPost.com making the nation think all Ytown citizens look like we sport squirrels on our heads.

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31EliotNess_DC(86 comments)posted 5 years ago

I posted this on the Washington, DC "Politico" website: http://www.politico.com/blogs/scoreca...
=========================

What if Traficant were, as he has always maintained, truly innocent?

What would an innocent man do differently than Traficant is doing?

Would he apologize for crimes that he didn't commit? Or would he make a second career of proving his innocence -- as Traficant is now doing.?

This is not just a rhetorical question ... for years I have known the two witnesses who were pressured -- but refused -- to lie for Craig Morford (Okolo and Detore), and I know the juror who recanted his 'guilty' verdict (Glaser, who was with us in Youngstown this weekend), and I know Convertino in Detroit, whose career, like Traficant's, was scuttled by Morford's ruthless climb to the top of the heap in Washington.

Craig Morford became a Justice Department 'made man' by silencing the DOJ's two severest critics: Traficant and Convertino.

Where are they now?

Whistle-blowers Detore and Convertino were quickly and unanimously acquitted. (Indeed, the Detroit jury gave Convertino a very public "attaboy" his original terrorism trial victory, a victory that Morford trashed and undid.)

Okolo was deported without a hearing. His testimony was never heard by either the Traficant or Detore juries ... nor was it disclosed to the defense -- which should be grounds for a new Traficant trial.

Two of the Traficant jurors (Glaser and Grodi) have spoken in public about his wrongful conviction (which was largely due the suppression of Detore and Okolo as witnesses).

And despite all the Press hype about Morford-the-Traficant-slayer, Dudley DoRight was quietly removed by AG Mukasey after the Convertino acquittal. (Enquiring legal minds want to know why?)

Morford is now the legal happy face for 'big health' (Cardinal Health) which is 18th on the Forbes 1000 and has a l-o-n-g history of securities fraud.

As in the Traficant case, Morford specializes in helping the real criminals stay out of jail -- three Cardinal executives recently traded $35 million of their loot for their freedom. (After the company agreed to a record $600 million settlement in the class action securities lawsuit!)

The Traficant and Convertino cases cry out for a Congressional investigation of DOJ criminal misconduct -- in the form of witness tampering, subornation of perjury, Privacy Act violations, and obstruction of justice.

The malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment of Rep. Traficant was the most serious American political crime since Watergate.

The assault on whistle-blower Convertino is a close contender for second place.

With Traficant's and Convertino's guns now blazing, the fun in Washington has only just begun.

Two words: Congressional hearings.

Four words: C-SPAN televised Congressional hearings.

Enjoy the show!

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32Peanuthead(31 comments)posted 5 years ago

http://www.zazzle.com/traficant_for_p...

These are great.........

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33What_the_Heck(34 comments)posted 5 years ago

EliotNess_DC, one word for you AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

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34mrbrown2195(1 comment)posted 5 years ago

I'm from Louisiana, and let me tell you, we know corruption full well down here. We elected Edwin Edwards FOUR times for cryin' out loud.

But here's the thing - Edwards got stuff done. Most folks down here know damn well that if Edwards was Governor when Hurricane Katrina hit, this state would've been organized and stuff would've gotten done, albeit while Edwards was lining his pockets; instead, we got complete incompetence - lives & property were lost while Governor Blanco ran around like a chicken with its head cut off.

It's different when you're incompetent & corrupt, though (see Jefferson, 'Dollar' Bill).

Traficant is more of an Edwin Edwards than a 'Dollar' Bill Jefferson - he might have questionable methods, but he gets stuff done for his constituents.

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35modept3029(3 comments)posted 5 years ago

Hey Coach!
Good to see you made it home. You have been away too long. Get back in the swing of things as soon as you can. Being a high school and college quarterback plus a former East High Golden Bear football coach, you can never be held down for long. Best Wishes and Good Luck from MB in Kansas City.

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36MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

I'm proud to live in the Mahoning Valley, I'm just embarrassed by the political corruption that has plagued the area for as long as I can remember and your "Jimbo" is exhibit A.

Oh and I have to call out "openminded" for being anything but. "And for those that are ashamed of the Mahoning Valley, you don't belong here." So anyone who disagrees with YOU should leave? Not very openminded at all.

BTW, no one is saying they are ashamed to be from the Valley, they are ashamed to be (mis)represented by convicted felons and grand-standing self-promoters who talk a good game and accomplish NOTHING. Again, Trafi"cant" is exhibit A

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37bob041(20 comments)posted 5 years ago

everyone calls him a bum an ex-con but everyone forgets about when teachers were on strike rmi was on strike and all the other times he helped the working people get back to work and off the picket lines but we forget all about the good he has done for this aera

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38Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years ago

The area has been a black hole through its own making, not Traficants. The man fears the government as much as I do, he's got my support for that.

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39MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

In a related story, the Mahoning Valley Thunder afl2 team folded this week.

1200 people will pay $20 to give a hero's welcome to an ex-con but they won't shell out $12 to go to a football game and support a LOCAL organization trying to do somethng positive for their community. Yes it would have been nice if the team was winning but if people here would think beyond "what's in it for me?" and support local businesses, this area could thrive.

The Thunder was a first class organization and provided top-notch entertainment and great value in what is supposedly a "football town". They brought positive publicity and badly needed dollars to the downtown and the entire area. I guess they should have stolen money, taken bribes and not paid their taxes. People here seem to LOVE guys like that. They even pay to go see them.

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40MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

I have to laugh at the comments like the one above. What openminded is really saying is, "We should be proud of our Valley, but don't ask me to contibute anything!" God forbid the proud residents should support a local enterprise. Get your head of of the sand people, it takes a communnity to BUILD a community.and it takes commitment and sacrifice to thrive. Unfortunately there are too many who feel entitled to the benefits of the area without contributing anything to the effort.

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41Lesthanzero(35 comments)posted 5 years ago

Jimbo personnifies the Youngstown intelligence (or lack of it, rather) that I remember, yet he has the fighting stamina also characteristic of the Valley. He's the perfect union thug, and only he, like John Gotti--also once regarded as a political prisoner--could use a prison stretch as a resume enhancement. In Jimbo's world, union thug, Congressman, and sherriff are all equivalent.

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42harbres(29 comments)posted 5 years ago

I caught just a couple of words of his from the news today... he said he would do what is right and speak up for what is right.

Who's version of "right" is he going to use... his? Isn't that what landed him in trouble in the first place???

This area doesn't need any extra help with being a joke. We really could do with out a revisit of his presence in this area.

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43jrbully(16 comments)posted 5 years ago

And they say ohio politics are corrupt...here in south carolina we have a govenor that goes on DATES with tax payer money..what did Mr Traficant do that was that bad???

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44MVP(67 comments)posted 5 years ago

Jimbo couldn't get a date so he used taxpayers money to have some work done on his farm....and he took bribes while in office....and didn't pay income tax...and six or seven other felonies that his apologists have conveniently forgotten about.

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45Ceaman(54 comments)posted 5 years ago

Well I suppose a lot of you voted for Bush and look what he did for himself "http://www.realchange.org/bushjr.htm" Traficant can't be all that bad.At least he has served his time.

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