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Betras calls Chamber chief ‘ungrateful hypocrite’

Published: Sat, October 9, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The Mahoning County Democratic Party chairman calls the head of the area’s chamber of commerce “an ungrateful hypocrite” for co-hosting a fund-raising event for John Kasich, Republican candidate for governor.

“To be frank, take your precious chamber and shove it up your commerce,” Democratic Chairman David Betras wrote in an e-mail to Tom Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Betras has withdrawn his law firm as a member of the chamber, he’s personally resigned from its government-affairs council and wrote in the e-mail that the agency “can expect no support from the local Democratic Party as long as I am the chairman and [Humphries is] the head of the chamber. I will not attend any breakfasts or lunches or any mixers. I do not respect the position you have taken or you personally.”

Humphries called Betras’ e-mail “unprofessional and frankly inaccurate,” adding “I don’t believe I am an ungrateful hypocrite.”

Humphries said the e-mail fits with Betras’ personality of “shoot first and then aim.”

Betras told The Vindicator that he wrote the e-mail because Humphries is “the quarterback of the Valley’s economic-development team,” and he shouldn’t be “choosing sides” in political races by helping to raise money for a candidate.

Humphries is among about a half-dozen co-hosts of a Monday fundraiser for Kasich at the Warren home of Sam Covelli, a prominent local businessman.

Campaign contributions from Humphries are fine, but he crossed the line by co-hosting the Kasich event, Betras said.

Based on his actions, Betras said Humphries should no longer be the head of the chamber, and he will lobby public officials to no longer fund the chamber until the agency selects a new leader.

Humphries said he’s had issues with the administration of Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who used to represent a portion of the Mahoning Valley while in the U.S. House.

One of the key problems, Humphries said, is Strickland’s administration refused in 2007 to hire his Warren-based company, Data Voice Systems Review, for a contract with the state’s lottery commission. Humphries said his proposal would have saved the state $5 million, about $3.4 million more than the one selected, and Data Voice was the only Ohio company to submit a proposal.

“I was upset; I’m still upset, he said. “I hate to talk about that. I never let it affect the chamber. It’s one of the issues [I have with Strickland]. There are many, many things, but that’s the one that broke the camel’s back.”

Humphries said he contacted the state’s Department of Administrative Services and the governor’s office after his company didn’t receive the contract but not since then.

Betras said Humphries is ignoring the assistance Strickland has provided the Valley.

Betras pointed to Strickland’s assistance with V&M Star’s $650 million expansion project, the new Chevrolet Cruze line at the Lordstown General Motors complex as well as creation of a business incubator in Warren and the Eastern Gateway Community College.

“You are like the horse in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ that changes colors depending on what is convenient and good for ‘Tom,’” Betras wrote to Humphries. “When Ted Strickland wins, as he will, you will have rendered yourself ineffective.”

Humphries said Betras should have spoken to him face-to-face rather than send him an e-mail.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinions,” Humphries said. “It’s a democracy, and I’m expressing my personal opinion. I am supporting Kasich.”


1palbubba(812 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Amen lombardo tort reform would be so beneficial for everyone except the parasites like Betras. I'm sure he never considered the fact that Humphries is actually smart enough to know that Strickland has done a bad job. The facts speak for themselves that is why all of Stricklnads advertising is negative against Kasich instead of based on his accomplishments.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The Chamber should have stayed neutral in politics like it always has. Now it is just another conservative PAC of the GOP not that I don't agree John Kasich is needed relief for Ohio after 4 years of Ted Strickland's failures to fix Ohio's economic mess.

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3Letstryagain(218 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Is David going to take his ball and bat home, or just hold his breath until he turns blue?

I see the need for some adult supervision.

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4NYR1(19 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Betras is a joke. This camera hound is the ultimate hypocrite. He is a poor attorney who chases ambulances around to extort money from the system and decent people. He buys radio time on WKBN to pretend that he is some big time attorney. He accuses just about every Republican official of corruption as tons of his Democrat political buddies get paraded into court one after another to face their charges. He tries to give Strickland credit for having something to do with expanding V&M Star and adding a third shift at Lordstown (anyone with common sense knows that he had nothing to do with either). And now to prove he is a hypocrite, this Jim Traficant hater steals one of Traficant's trademark statements to try and bash Humphries: "shove it up his commerce". Come on Dave, it is time to look in the mirror.

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5observant1(113 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

To steal another line from Jimbo that pertains to all of the people named in the article; Humphries, Betras, Covelli, Kasich, Strickland and the people who have posted comments; lombardo, palbubba, Unionforever, Letstryagain, and NYR1, (except for me of course) "YOU PEOPLE ARE SOOOOO DUMB THAT YOU COULDN'T HIT THE FLOOR IF YOU FELL OUT OF BED".

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6Heartland(38 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

There is a way to have a form of Tort Reform. Have all the conservatives that would rather protect insurance companies, bad doctors and irresponsible corporations sign a legal document saying they will never sue any of them. After all, they believe their and their families lives are worth less than these doctors and corporations. Don't be hypocrites sign the paper you really are worthless. He had to bail out Leman Brothers the company Kasich's worked for now he wants to run Ohio? What a joke.

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7TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am absolutely embarrassed by his letter. I have considered getting involved in the local party, but honestly his behavior lets me know (time and time again) that they are not about truly discussing the issues. Not only was this letter, unprofessional and childish but it was RIDDLED with grammar and punctuation errors, making the local party (and therefore Mr. Betras) look like fools.

"Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips."

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Let's get ready to rumble ! At the sound of the bell on election day the voters will decide . Dave may not be happy with the outcome . But ,hey Dave, it's all good .

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9davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

something democrats dont want to hear

they are antibusiness

their tax policies

being in the pocket of the shrinking unions

their deficit spending habits

the chamber is probusiness

many chamber members will support kasich

that is logical

and i would bet covelli has created more jobs then betras

this rant was crude and embarrassing

the democratic precinct committee people who elected betras should be ashamed

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The Democrats have been running The Valley for years and it has been steadily going downhill . So what's new ?

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11faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Dave is right for going after Tom Humphries and the chamber. The chamber gets money from business abroad. It is BS that the Chinese can filter money though the chamber and attack Boccerri and Ryan and others that are trying to stop FREE trade. All workers want is FAIR trade, a level playing field. This Valley is finally moving in the right direction, Kasick will turn that around fast. And Tom should have sat this one out, he will be gone soon.

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12TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I disagree. Just because he is head of the chamber of commerce does not mean he needs to give up his individual right to support whomever he decides. Furthermore, the fact that the state spent MORE MONEY hiring an out of state contractor, as opposed to LESS MONEY for an instate contractor goes to Stricklands credibility as a fiscally responsible leader.

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13faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The republicants had the governorship for 16 year and we saw squat. Ted is there for 3yrs and jobs are coming to the Valley.

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14faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Toms "contractor" was his buddy. The chamber is corrupt. They are the socialists who want to redistribute wealth. Take from the workers and give to the business. When people have no more money to spend, what business will they go to?

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15TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I have to agree with you, Betras is doing the party more harm than good. Personally, I have always tended to vote for Democrats (not always), however Dave's continued "peanut gallery" type comments have put a sour taste in my mouth. It will definitely show in my voting choices this year.

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16TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"One of the key problems, Humphries said, is Strickland’s administration refused in 2007 to hire his Warren-based company, Data Voice Systems Review, for a contract with the state’s lottery commission."

I can't believe no one has a problem with this statement. Humphries can hide behind the guise of saving money for the state but the reality is that his pockets weren't personally lined! Talk about a culture of corruption!

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17whitehawk(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

If you want a job in the Mahoning valley, you have to kiss Dave Betras' ring. I expect now he will sue the Chamber for being truthful and not clearing their support for businesses with him first.
If you support anyone other than the 'Betras boys' you might find your house on fire.

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18candystriper(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Republican rally continues on!

.... Ryan brings jobs for a call center found in a 3rd world country.


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19valleyred(1103 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am typing up my op-ed as I speak.. Betras' behavior is ridiculous and unprofessional.

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20MFC997(261 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Hell is comin' to breakfast ... and there is not a thing they can do about it ...

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21redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Marcus57, isn't his head on the wrong end of the donkey?

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22Education_Voter(1174 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, here's a cartoon for you. http://cincinnati.com/blogs/opinionat...

The Vindicator did carry a part of this story which AP picked up from the Columbus Dispatch.
Personally, I'm dismayed by the degree that Australian/English Rupert Murdoch
tries to leverage American elections.

I'm sure that Mr. Murdoch's huge contributions to the Chamber of Commerce and his friendship with Mr. Kasich have nothing to do with Mr. Humphries decision, right?

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23TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Humphries is quoted

"One of the key problems, Humphries said, is Strickland’s administration refused in 2007 to hire his Warren-based company, Data Voice Systems Review, for a contract with the state’s lottery commission."

Regardless of Betras' behavior, this man is backing another candidate because HE DID NOT GET A JOB. Nepotism, etc. rears its head and you all can't see it.

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24author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Without government money, the chamber under Humphries would fold like Rosetta Stone. In 2008 alone, the chamber of horrors... excuse me commerce received $994,000 from the taxpayers.

The chamber bought up oodles of land around the airport, hoping it would become viable, so they could sell the land they bought on the cheap at a huge profit.

Dont ever forget this so called 'pro-business' entity being for every tax increase that has been stuffed down our throats.

The chamber under Humphries is the fourth branch of government here in the valley and Betras should stick it to them!

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25mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

These two men have No Class whatsoever.

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26lastsamurai(4 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

betras is political cancer for whomever he is associated with.....anyone who is a tied to him should RUN away....FAST!!!! as society holds that one is judged by the company they keep....

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27m__dogg(12 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Betras better quit running his mouth and pay more attention to his practice because rumor has it some of his attorneys want out of his firm, but because his line of credit is tapped out, he can't buy them out. Do we want someone running our politics who can't run his own business successfully. Anybody can look successful if you have a huge line of credit to use at your disposal. Wait until the bank makes a call on his loan, and we'll see the success the democratic leader of the Mahoning Valley does not possess.

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28faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Humphries is a cheat and a lier. Lining his own pockets is more important to him than the economic success of this Valley!!

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29faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Humphries has his own political agenda, to make $.

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30TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"TB, to be fair you must use the entire quote, because there are unanswered questions that maybe the Vindy can get to the bottoom of, about why the lottery commission used a New Jersey Co. when the savings from that out of State company was far less.... "

I did consider this. However, even if Humphries was going to save tax money (speculative), HE DIRECTLY benefits from the contract.

You don't see any ethical issues with this?

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31seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Our boy Betras...lawyer, supposedly sworn to uphold laws, right? I see this goof speed down my street numerous times per week. It's a 25mph residential and he rolls at least 35-40 on average. Probably on his way to yuk it up with Scott and Lauren on WFMJ in the morning. Talk about a-- kissing at it's finest. Davey is mad and now he wants to stop playing the game and go home to mommy to pout. What a representation of someone who is supposed to be professional and a political stalwart. As long as it's going good he's all up in the camera, looking for face-time, showing his "skills" as an attorney. Unfortunately, ambulance chasing isn't a profession most of us hold in high-esteem, and whaaa whaaa stuff doesn't play well either. He should partner up with the Porsche Cayan speeder who must always be "late for court" as his, and this is the most dead-on representation of the term I have ever seen in action, vanity plate says. Above the law, no respect for the regular citizen, money grabbing jerks I have ever seen.

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32TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

money grabbing? look at the quote from Humphries!

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33Education_Voter(1174 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Humphries has cultivated an image of himself as the representation of the Chamber of Commerce. He absolutely knows that he cannot then sponsor a political candidate without people seeing that as an action of the Chamber.

I am sure he expects a reward in return from Kasich and his well-heeled friends. His action was unseemly, and he should be called on it.
He should resign.

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