By Denise Dick
The attorney for the Association of Classified Employees at Youngstown State University objects to a former prosecutor’s contention that the union didn’t cooperate in the criminal investigation of its former treasurer.
“It is one of the most absurd comments I’ve ever heard,” said Atty. Ira Mirkin, who represents ACE.
He was responding to comments made by Atty. Robert E. Bush Jr., a former Mahoning County assistant prosecutor, published in The Vindicator Wednesday regarding a plea agreement negotiated by Carol Hovanes.
Hovanes, the former ACE treasurer, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to a misdemeanor theft charge. She had been accused of taking money from union accounts. Her sentencing is March 29.
“We contacted them because the union wanted to pursue criminal charges against Ms. Hovanes,” Mirkin said.
In the article published Wednesday, Bush said that ACE didn’t cooperate with the investigation, provide documents or witnesses.
Mirkin said that he personally delivered to Bush boxes of documents in July 2010 containing about 4,000 documents.
Included in those documents was the audit the union had conducted, documenting the missing funds, he said.
Mirkin said that he notified Bush that the union would object to a plea agreement that didn’t include restitution and had asked to be notified of court proceedings in the case.
The plea didn’t include restitution and Mirkin said he wasn’t notified of Tuesday’s court date.
Bush said that Hovanes admitted she had taken about $13,000 and she had repaid about $9,900 of that.
The documentation provided by Mirkin in July dealt with Hovanes, who had already acknowledged what she had taken.
“We wanted documentation related to some other case,” Bush said, declining to be specific.
When investigators from the prosecutor’s office contacted ACE union leadership in March 2010 and June 2010, including a former president, vice president and treasurer, they declined to talk about the case.
A vice president said he couldn’t get any of the documents supporting the theft allegations, a treasurer said she would need the president’s permission to talk about the missing money and the former union president told investigators he believed the Ohio Education Association should be consulted before he discussed the issue, Bush said.
“They were covering, now they want to say something different,” he said.
“No matter what they say, the leadership was not cooperating.”