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Betras apologizes for insults to candidate

Published: Wed, February 22, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.





By David Skolnick



Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras mocked a county commissioner candidate about his appearance and his chances of winning the March 6 primary and used a variety of insults, including expletives, in a series of text messages.

The candidate, Richard Oz Ouzounian, provided the text messages from Nov. 15 and Feb. 14 to the media Tuesday.

Betras apologized to Ouzounian “for the tone and tenor of the messages. The language I used is unacceptable, and I take full responsibility for drafting and sending them.”

When told of Betras’ apology, Ouzounian said he didn’t accept it, adding that the chairman is doing this to keep up a false public image.

Also Tuesday, Ouzounian sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted writing Betras sent him “threatening text messages” that “have attacked me personally, professionally and the latest threatens me and the fairness of the upcoming election.”

Husted appointed Betras last week to a four-year term on the county board of elections that starts March 1.

Ouzounian said a Feb. 14 text from Betras is a threat. The text reads: “Let me know who your lawyer is bc [because] lawsuits are forthcoming but only after primary. Make sure u print this now fatty and show everyone.”

Betras said he sent the text because of his “utter frustration” with Ouzounian, a former employee, for his “continued and unsubstantiated and egregious attacks on my actions and character, including the totally unfounded allegation that I threatened to retaliate against a business person who does business with the county who contributed to his campaign.”

Ouzounian has refused to disclose the name of the person, and Betras is calling him a “liar.”

Betras said Ouzounian’s “unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks against me will not affect my ability to perform my duties as a member of the board of elections.”

Betras also said he will recuse himself from any decisions or deliberations that directly or indirectly affect Ouzounian or his candidacy in this or future elections and added he has notified the s ecretary of state of that intent.

Ouzounian is among six Democratic candidates running for the commissioner seat held by John McNally IV, who isn’t seeking re-election.

Betras described the text messages as “bantering” and “arguing back and forth.”

Ouzounian served as director of communications for Betras’ law firm for about 21/2 years, ending in August 2010. Betras said he fired Ouzounian.

Ouzounian said Betras laid him off because the firm had financial issues. Around the same time Ouzounian stopped working for Betras’ firm, he stopped being the county party’s political director, a job he held for a little more than a year.

On one text message, Betras called Ouzounian the “worst employee I ever had.” In another, Betras wrote, “Bring it b---- boy. Dead last in endorsement, dead last in race. U know y? Bc u r a LOSER.”

Ouzounian returned fire. “I’m going to enjoy teaching you what hardball politics is all about, so bring it on. I have nothing to lose, you have everything to lose, go for it!”

He also called Betras “Boss Hogg AKA Mr. Incompetent” in another text.


1youngstownsteve(83 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Grow up Betras, you are not setting the right example as leader of our party. Stop the petty, vengeful bs and work on getting our president re-elected.

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2ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

What is it with the Mahoning Valley that we tolerate people such as Betras? This man has a reputation of picking fights and giving this area black eyes.

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3CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Betras is a PUNCHLINE

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4tookie(64 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

And the Vindicator editorial board, of all people, supported this man to be on the board of elections. Where are your standards? You have none.

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5educater(6 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

this is a fight between two men. i am not defending either, but i was taught, if you fight, do your best and when it is all over you dont go tell on people or sue them either. Man up OZ, words cant hurt you. quit being a baby.

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6BIGDOG69(27 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Problem solved...VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!

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7boxerlover(133 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

I feel like I'm on the playground in grade school. Here's a box of Kleenex, a note to your mothers, and you both have detention. You want to act like children, we'll treat you like children.

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8Max(98 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The fact that a slimy, disgusting ambulance-chaser like Betras is involved in ANYTHING in our community makes me sick.

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9legend33(169 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Poor Dave getting ridiculed again...is there a pattern here Dave?

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10redeye1(5514 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

BIGDOG69 You seem to be the only one with any common sense on this blog. The people of the valley are so-brain washed into believing the D party is out to help them that they don't know any better. If they would only open their eyes and look at what the D party hasn't done for this valley they would be surprised.

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11BIGDOG69(27 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Thanks redeye1, but it's not what they haven't done to the county, it's what they have done. We are on a downward spiral from the sky, ready to crash and burn. The path that we are currently on will turn Mahoning County into a ghost town before we know it. Boxerlover is right, it's like being on the playground at grade school. Just the kind of people I want in control...

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12Rooster(80 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Lord almighty, look at the caliber of these scamps twittering and tweeting like a little girl fight. What this is here is a serious character problem. What attracts these kind of trash to politics I'll never know. It's a curse we're living under around here. It's just embarrassing this quality of people getting into politics around here, or trying to. Lord, lord, we must deserve it, I guess

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13soupcity1(13 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

wasnt betras at one time a priest or something? i thought i heard that from some people in Campbell.

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14candystriper(575 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Who sends a text like this to a former employee?

Interesting that he can't seem to control his inappropriate behavior.

I find it hard to believe Betras has financial problems.

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15Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Both of these men sound like schoolyard bullies.

They should both go home. Leave public service to mature adults.

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16Rooster(80 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Sorry Ms. Tigerlily, calling these boys school yard bullies is giving them a promotion. Nope more likely these were the little turds hiding out in the toilets trashing the place and developing their writing talents on the stall partitions.

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17Philo(99 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The fact that we continue to have individuals like this at the forefront of our local political system speaks volumes for the people of this region. We get the type of government we deserve. Other communities just look at the Mahoning Valley and shake their heads. Our children deserve better but we're still waiting for US Steel to open back up. We're to be pitied.

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18CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

When are we ever going to move forward in Youngstown.....Is it not 2012, And we still continue to vote in these people to the D party ! Unreal ! Then of course they have all there cronies and endorse them in etc etc...and they are all in for the long hull !! Do they care about us citizens...nope ! do they want the money...yep ! Do they all scratch each others backs...h#%# yes !

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19mrblue(1175 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

How in the world can the Democratic Party tolerate this clown? He can't be the best they have to offer, can he?

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