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Ex-YSU union official files suit against two

Published: Thu, June 30, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.


Ivan Maldonado

By Peter H. Milliken



A former president of the classified employees’ union at Youngstown State University has filed a lawsuit alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Ivan Maldonado, 43, of Euclid Boulevard, Boardman, filed the civil lawsuit earlier this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court against Mary Kay Helscel, a university employee who accused him of threatening her, and Lt. Michael Cretella of the university’s police department to whom Helscel complained.

The case is assigned to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

The suit, filed for Maldonado by Atty. John B. Juhasz, demands a jury trial and seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive and exemplary damages.

Helscel did not respond to a request to comment, and Cretella could not be reached to comment.

Maldonado filed the suit nearly a year after he was acquitted of the criminal-misdemeanor menacing charge by Judge Robert Douglas of Youngstown Municipal Court after a brief nonjury trial June 28, 2010.

In her complaint, Helscel said Maldonado called her at work March 10, 2009, regarding the circulation of a letter of agreement between the union and the university, which was designed to resolve a potential grievance issue, and advised her that it would be bad for her health if she were involved in circulating copies of that agreement.

A menacing charge states that the defendant knowingly caused the victim to believe the defendant would cause physical harm to the victim or her property, Judge Douglas said.

“The threat was not physical harm,” Judge Douglas said, adding that Maldonado’s alleged statement referred to union culture and the stress of union litigation.

The lawsuit says Maldonado made no threats during his conversation with Helscel and alleges Cretella “failed to investigate the complaint adequately.”

The university fired Maldonado in July 2009, amid accusations that his job performance was unsatisfactory and that he threatened a university employee. Maldonado, who had been a 20-year university employee, is a former president of YSU’s Association of Classified Employees, a 400-member labor union.

Although he was acquitted of the menacing charge in municipal court, Maldonado still faces misdemeanor and felony charges in a YSU payroll case.

In that case, Maldonado is charged with 10 counts of theft, two counts each of falsification and theft in office and one count each of tampering with records and grand theft. The jury trial in that matter is set to begin Aug. 1 before Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court.


1db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Another union dork with his hand out.

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2DeepThoughts(7 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Who says that doing something "will be bad for your health" and is really just altruistically looking out for the person they are talking to? Give me a break. Everyone would take that as a threat, except Judge Douglas apparently. I'm sure if some attorney said that to him, he'd take it as a threat. It's just the typical union mentality of wanting something for nothing and bullying, twisting, and mistating facts to get it.

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3YSUretired(25 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Maldonado was found not guilty. Do we need to say any more? Not a lesser crime...NOT guilty. Where was that on the front page of the Vindy?

I worked with the guy and he was kind and always trying to help everyone.

Cretella obviously didn't do a thorough investigation job...no surprise. Probably promoted to do what the boss says. Hard to believe he acted alone. YSU is not the place it used to be.

Other YSU employees have been assaulted and no charges filed. Hmmm... This was a phone call and criminal charges are filed. Something smells like Maldonado was a target just waiting for some wrong move.

It will serve YSU right to be sued. Can't wait to see this one play out.

And looking forward to NOT guilty on the other goofy charges. Where were the supervisors?

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4RealTruth(111 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey, db

Before you start calling people names, why don't you use an appropriate one?

dork: [count] informal : a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc. (Webster's) He looks pretty stylish to me.

And, YSURetired . . . I completely agree with you. Ivan was always there to help and always enforced the contract that the administration agreed to. That's one of the things they didn't like about him. His knowledge and experience enabled him to run circles are the supposed "educated."

I also look forward to him winning this lawsuit and being found innocent of all the other bogus accusations.

Good luck, Ivan!

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5pol26(26 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Ivan is a thug and is most likely behind the comments that praise him here. Suing his victim is a way to get his mug in the paper. God forbid we should forget about him. Sure he was "nice". "Nice" to all his cronies....got them unbelievable pay raises, helped them commit fraud, filed grievances against their bosses, and even got them free tuition. ( Needed his wife's help on that last one.) His "knowledge" and "experience" should have been applied to his job....then he might still have one. In reality, he's done and so is his "Union".

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6ChangesNeededNow(16 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with pol26, People can appear "nice" when that's what they want you to see. Other times, they show another side that is not nice, rude, threatening, intmidating and downright mean, cruel remarks. It's a shame. Let's hope things can change.

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7Nunya(1356 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh the lore of Y.S.Shrew,..

Surely he knows a lot more of how and who by name, manner and positions. That's all inclusive of the criminality schemes being conducted down at that absolute shysters chateau also known as Y.S.Shrew.

But he also knows that with every organized crime kingpin and crab crony being connected at that hub. There's not going to be any prosecution of any aspect of it if taken through the Jackals adjoined throughout the Mahoning or Trumbull county courts,.. an array of Jesters in drag.

Note he's not asked for his " Job " back anymore. Now he's just merely making a motion for a ransom,.. and or some shut up money.

So this time around has Quid pro quo written all over it. One where judicially the record reflects the individual has not been found guilty of menacing / harassment / coercion via intimidation. However, there's yet loads of evidence regarding charging him with numerous other crimes committed at the same operation.

Corruption?,.. sure and there's loads of it.

Granted this individual has been working with, through, around and for some of those criminals for better than twenty years. Now he's been formally charged as one of criminal acts and it shouldn't surprise anybody,.. in the least.

To include there are an array of yet to be charged & convicted crooks. That's perched on the bench throughout the Mahoning county courts bench's. However, with that I don't see any $275 K payday swaying in this individuals favor. I see this as more a leverage play for plea deal wriggle room. Than any genuine expectancy of receiving such a sum from who he better know who he's been dealing with.

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8crlbk1052(99 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Name calling is NOTnice! Why is it always you are a thug if you are involved in a union? Maybe just jealousy/envy. I've been following this story for almost 3 yrs! Some of the commenters should walk in his shoes for awhile, see how fair the shrew has been to him. Everything you read in this paper is slanted towards beating up the little guy. When they thought there was a story for Big Brother, Mr. Maldonado is plastered on the FRONT page in a biased story wearing orange. Now that he might be getting somewhere in the justice system, it's hidden on page 9? What's wrong with this? The truth is hidden but lies appear on the front page. It appears he only wants justice from those who falsely accused him. Hush money? It's a known fact that it's not about the $$$$, it's about smashing the little guys. Those in power don't want the God awful truth out there, let's just put some more spin on the LIES and see how much farther we can bury this "union" thing. There is NO justice WITHOUT a union. Wonder how low that union has sunk WITHOUT a person like Mr. Maldonado to take a stand for "the little guys"? From what I've heard, there is NO ONE who takes a stand for the little guy, they are ALL about bowing and cowering to the Admin.

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9YSUretired(25 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

A union thug? You must be a business owner who wants everyone to be reduced to minimum wage earning power and then eliminate the minimum wage to pay people even less. Maybe we should all work for nothing,

Ivan worked for YSU for 20 years, that's 20 years. Do you honestly believe he is a union thug? Heaven forbid anyone actually stand up for union members and the contract both sides have agreed to follow. Like him or not, no one can say that he is a union thug. He stood up to management and said you will not violate the contract. As I recall, the previous President praised his work as Union President in the 2008 contract negotiations. I guess President Sweet didn't think Ivan was a thug.

I have been retired for a while but have watched as the administration has handed themselves lucrative raises and expanded their workforce while reducing the union membership and attempted to reduce their wages and benefits. That's where all the money is going. You could hire 3 or 4 union members to one management employee. Where is the Vindy looking into all the newly created management positions?

Don't forget the 2005 strike by 800 union members blamed on the administration, not the union, by the University's own assessment. Union thugs, no. Administration thugs, maybe. Time will tell.

I'm sure Ivan filed the civil action because he believed he was wrongfully accused and could prove the case. The accusations have been destructive to his reputation and income. I'm sure a jury will be able to make a decision based on facts, just as the judge did with the criminal case.

The corruption seems to be with the legal system bringing the false accusation in the first place. Maybe the system should be sued as well as the individuals who made the false accusations.

Good luck Ivan as you bring your case to a resolution.

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10RealTruth(111 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago


Your nose must be growing.

Have you ever met the man? He stood up for ALL employees. He devoted his life to that place, not to mention hours and hours and hours of his personal free time.

You're right. That union is done, because nobody will stand up for what's right anymore. Ivan is a dying breed, unfortunately.

Have you ever read the contract defining who gets free tuition? Do you understand what "legal dependent" means? Have you ever opened your home to a relative and provided full room and board?

As the above poster commented: Walk in his shoes for awhile.

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