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Macejko’s candidacy intriguing

Published: Sun, July 31, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Youngstown City Prosecutor Jay Macejko has been around politics long enough to know that his decision to challenge Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains next year has prompted cynics to wonder if this is a replay of the 2008 race.

Then, Atty. Martin Yavorcik ran as an independent against Gains and raked in $120,000 from members of the Cafaro family: $40,000 each from Anthony M. Sr., retired president of the Cafaro Co.; John J., retired vice president; and Flora, an officer with the shopping center development firm.

The reason for the Cafaros’ support of Yavorcik was clear from the outset: They wanted to punish Gains for his role in the legal battles that surrounded the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center.

The purchase resulted in the Cafaro Co. losing a lucrative lease when the county Job and Family Services agency was moved out of its Garland Plaza on the East Side.

But despite their significant financial support for Yavorcik’s candidacy, Gains steamrollered his opponent. The prosecutor’s continued presence in the county courthouse must feel like an in-grown toe nail, especially to Anthony and Flora Cafaro, who until recently were defendants in a state criminal case, along with Yavorcik, county Commissioner John A. McNally IV, county Auditor Michael Sciortino, former Treasurer John Reardon and former JFS Director John Zachariah.


Special prosecutors dropped the charges — they can refile them at a later date — because the FBI and federal prosecutors in Cleveland weren’t willing to share evidence accumulated from wiretaps and other surveillance of some of the defendants in the state case.

Given what’s at stake regarding the politics of Mahoning County, city Prosecutor Macejko must publicly answer the following questions:

Have you had any social or business dealings with Anthony, John J. and/or Flora Cafaro, or with any other executives of the Cafaro Co.? If so, what was the nature of the dealings?

Given that the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland have 2,000 hours of tapes from the surveillance, can you say unequivocally that your name will not appear on any related list? If it turns out that you were recorded in conversations or appear on videotape with any of the Cafaros or company executives, will you withdraw from the race next year and resign your position as city prosecutor?

If you are successful in ousting Gains, would you endorse the criminal conspiracy case against the defendants and would you cooperate with the FBI and federal prosecutors in their investigation of government corruption in Mahoning County?

While the criminal aspect of the so-called Oakhill Renaissance scandal is up in the air, what is clear is that one prominent businessman, Anthony Cafaro, had unprecedented access to government officials, including former Treasurer Lisa Antonini, who has pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge. Do you believe it is proper for anyone to tell an officeholder to jump, and the officeholder replies, “How high?”

Since the county prosecutor is the lawyer for county government, would you advise your clients that clandestine meetings with special interests undermine good government and, therefore, should be avoided at all costs?

In announcing your candidacy, you said you planned to restore integrity, trust and honesty in the prosecutor’s office, which, you said, is “severely lacking.” Do you have proof of illegal activities on the part of Paul Gains or any of his staff? If you have such proof, have you taken it to the FBI or the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland? If you haven’t turned over such evidence, why not? Is it not your obligation as an officer of the court to seek the removal of corrupt officeholders?

If your allegations of a lack of integrity, trust and honesty are merely designed to grab headlines, does that not speak to your own integrity, trust and honesty?

Given the history of Mahoning Valley politics, voters have a right to know everything about the candidates for one of the most important offices in county government. Jay Macejko can expect to be closely scrutinized — just as Gains has been for the past 15 years.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Is this column an in-kind contribution to Paul Gain's campaign Mr. De Souza?

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2AtownAugie(891 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Bert. Bert. Bert. Why all these below-the-belt innuendos and accusations? I don't know Jay from Adam, but I do know when someone is trying to foist "guilty until proven innocent" charges upon someone. Perhaps you're hoping to high heaven that ONE of your scurrilous accusations will be found true, so YOU can headline "I WAS RIGHT!" Or perhaps it's CDS -- Cafaro Derangement Syndrome. Dunno. What I do know is this: it is breathtaking how The Vindy permits you to use barrels of ink as your personal Viagra.

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3Julie1(34 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

I hope that Gains will be investigated by the authorities! Macejko would do the community a favor by bringing forth evidence of corruption.

Gains abused his authority for political purposes when he targeted his enemies in the Oakhill matter, then stayed involved all the way through even though he'd recused himself. We might have even learned the extent and specifics of Gains's wrongdoing had the scheduled hearing on prosecutorial misconduct occurred.

But of course the prosecutors decided instead to drop the charges against those they'd accused. I believe that move was designed to avoid the hearing. No wonder. They might not have enjoyed the evidence of prosecutorial corruption becoming public,

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4taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

This article does sound more like a witch hunt. Good point you make R1200GS

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5TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Nicely said Author 50. Betram whose blind devotion to Paul Gains has once again proven that his lack of objectivity is the cornserstone of his statements. First of all, who are you Betram to demand anything? There has never been any insinuation that Macejko has been unethical. If any assertions are shown to be true, remember he worked for Gains, that of course means Gains is unethical too right? de Souza has decided to start smearing this kid right out of the box. That is because he knows that Gains has REAL trouble this time. There is no doubt that Macejko will get the Party endorsement, absolutely no question there. Word has it that Mr. Gains' own employees have begun looking for other jobs.....

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6crimelander(122 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I am still waiting to hear anything exact that shows Macejko is cut from the same cloth as Gains.

There have been just very broad accusations but nothing meaty to chomp on.

Time for folks that know or suspect problems with Jay to push out in public their knowledge or suspected misdeed theories.

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7ytownescapee(20 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I am personally offended by what Mr. DeSouza has written because it would not take a whole lot of time or effort to find out that Paul Gains is as about as corrupt as he could be and keeps getting re-elected because the people of Mahoning County blindly vote for him thinking he is some kind of hero or something. It seems as though for some odd, strange reason Mr. DeSouza also feels that way.

I have tried to get in touch with Mr. DeSouza about the corruption in Youngstown, not only with Mr. Gains, but with other people in positions they should not be in if they are on the take. People just assume this happens and don't care unless it touches their lives.

It is also funny that whenever I do make a comment about how corrupt Mahoning County is or something to that effect, there are people on these sites that try to change the subject or move the conversation in a different direction. I see very little said about what really goes on. People don't even seem to think much when the Feds will not let go of over 2,000 hours of tapes. Don't you question in your minds why that is? Do you really believe it is because they did not want to prosecute the Cafaros and others? They can refile the charges. Is there some reason why some people cannot read between the lines?

I have spoken before in other threads and have commented on pretty much nothing else because I no longer live in Youngstown, but I have a lot of family that does and most of the people I speak with know what goes on. The problem seems to be that they feel that what they get instead could be worse. Try going through a justice system that feels your guilty unless proven innocent unless, of course, you happen to have money in which case there is no case.

I wonder how far some of these "honest" politicians would make it if "folks that know or suspect problems with them to push out in public their knowledge or suspected misdeed theories". People don't realize the power some of these people have. Are you going to risk your job, family or your reputation to go up against a group of people who have the authority to do what they want to you and yours?

Mr. DeSouza - Why do you protect Paul Gains? It seems as though maybe you owe him or he done you a favor or two. See how things can look skewed just by putting questions in peoples' brains? I would love to know what his response to these questions would be. I would welcome him to respond privately. Somehow I know I will get nothing but silence, or worse.

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