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Macejko, Gains clash on Ch. 21

Published: Sun, February 19, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Does Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains show up for work drunk — when he does show up, that is?

Is Youngstown City Prosecutor Jay Macejko a religious bigot with a particular aversion to the followers of Islam?

Those questions aren’t the creation of a tabloid reporter’s active imagination. Rather, they reflect key issues in the highly contentious race for the Democratic Party nomination for county prosecutor. Gains is seeking a fifth, four-year term, but Macejko has pulled out all the stops in his effort to win the March 6 primary. There is no Republican candidate, and while the deadline for an independent to file is March 5, the Democratic nominee is all but assured of winning the office. The November general election would be pro forma.

That’s why the sparks are flying — which will be evident on Wednesday when Gains and Macejko square off in an hour-long debate hosted by WFMJ-TV Channel 21 starting at 7 p.m.

The candidates will be questioned by a panel of journalists: TV 21 News Anchor Bob Black, who will serve as moderator; reporters Michelle Nicks and Glenn Stevens; and this writer.


Gains and Macejko will make opening and closing statements, which will give them the opportunity to take off the gloves. They will also have the chance to question each other.

The city prosecutor delivered the first blow in this battle during a recent candidates forum. In discussing the differences between them, he said that if elected county prosecutor he would be at work every day and would be “sober.”

When his use of the word “sober” was highlighted in a recent column in this space, Macejko claimed that he wasn’t referring to Gains’ drinking habits, but rather was talking about how he would approach the job. He does acknowledge, however, that the attendees at the candidates forum, including the incumbent and Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras, took his statement to mean that he was accusing the county prosecutor of showing up for work drunk.

Indeed, the challenger used a portion of his comments in a posting on the Internet, but excluded the part that used the word “sober.”

Not to be outdone, Gains has accused his challenger of preventing an assistant city prosecutor from practicing his religion — in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

At issue is a civil rights lawsuit filed by Bassil Ally, who contended that Macejko interfered with his ability to practice his Islamic religion. The details of the suit have been widely publicized. The bottom line is that the city of Youngstown settled with a financial payment of more than $100,000 to Ally and also agreed to a significant increase in his salary.

Gains has latched on to the lawsuit as proof of his opponent’s religious intolerance. Not only is he airing commercials that focus on the constitutional aspect of the Ally lawsuit, but fliers have been distributed that provide details of the issue.

Both candidates have denied the charges made against them.

Gains says he has never shown up for work drunk and also challenges Macejko’s contention that he has missed work for days and even months on end.

It is noteworthy that Macejko worked as an assistant county prosecutor under Gains.

No bigotry

For his part, the city prosecutor vehemently denies that he is a religious bigot, or any type of bigot for that matter, and says he did not take action against Ally because of his attending services at his mosque on Friday afternoons. The arrangement for such attendance was one of Ally’s conditions of his employment during the administration of former Mayor Jay Williams. The prosecutor at that time was Dionne Almasy.

Macejko insists he had a problem with Ally’s job performance and his attitude, especially his insubordination.

Asked why the city settled the civil rights lawsuit, the prosecutor said it was the decision of the insurance carrier, which paid the $100,000 settlement. The city paid the deductible on the policy and is also responsible for the pay raise.

This week, the federal judge who was assigned to the Ally lawsuit will release the documents that had been sealed as part of the settlement.

Any references to Macejko’s behavior as city prosecutor that demonstrate religious or racial intolerance will fan the campaign flames.


1mishmash(333 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The GAINS GANG must go !!

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2Bman(151 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Religious intolerance? That's it DeSouza?

The current prosecutor is a drunkard; that is public knowledge around Youngstown. Whispers abound regarding Gains' womanizing, loud boistrous non-sensical ranting, and general conduct that is non-comforming to a public servant.

Then there is Macejko.

Oh and by the way, Macejko's political opponents can dig up zero dirt on the man, so Gains' people (who all have big money jobs at stake in Gains' office) begin calling Macejko a "religious zealot!" It would be funny but a decent person and competent lawyer's reputation is being impugned publicly by political hacks.

On other threads folks, including me, have argued as to why decent people will not run for office.


Macejko is that decent person and look what attacks he is suffering? Gains' servants are branding him as religiously intolerant and making him out to be a bigot. All over an employee who, as I declare plainly over and over, if he was Catholic would be fired.

Macejko is a decent person (no better or worse than anyone else), who happens to be a great prosecutor. He is a career prosecutor and was Gains' lead criminal prosecutor for a few years. Macejko was tired of working for the braggart-and-drunkard so he left for a better position as Younstown City Prosecutor.

Now Macejko is trying to get involved and run for an office for which he is absolutely qualified. Macejko will be in the courtroom LEADING HIS OFFICE BY EXAMPLE!

Gains did not prosecute. Gains does not prosecute. And I refuse to stay quiet on these message boards while Macejko is attacked so I will be typing until March 6!

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3Caliber380(43 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Bman, you have been quiet for over an entire day?? Oh, I know you are reading all the information proving that Jay is a liar and a racist.
You think Paul is a womanizing drunk, so you would rather have Jay in office who continues to lie, and lie and lie about his racist treatment to his employees.???

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4Bman(151 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

My favorite part of the debate was at the very end when Bob Black had to remind Gains to stop rambling and ask a question.

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5Askmeificare(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Gains is not the best candidate, but Macejko does come with baggage and Macejkos' baggage will soon be open aired for all.

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