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The good, the bad, the ugly

Published: Sun, January 22, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Youngstown City Prosecutor Jay Macejko insists he has no ties whatsoever to members of the Cafaro family. If what he says stands up to scrutiny, that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, Macejko, who is challenging Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains for the Democratic Party nomination, claims that he was not talking about alcohol when he used the word “sober” to describe how he would handle the job of county prosecutor differently than the incumbent

In an interview with WFMJ-Channel 21 Reporter Glenn Stevens, in reaction to last Sunday’s column that focused on his comments, Macejko said:

“When the statement was made at the FOP candidates forum I was talking about working hard and clearly seeing your way to justice. I don’t know why people took it the way they did, but they did and since then it certainly has been used in an inflammatory manner.”

Macejko, who had worked for Gains as an assistant county prosecutor, was clearly trying to worm his way out of a politically explosive situation. His tortured explanation for his use of the word “sober” is a bad thing.

He ignored one of the chief rules of politics: When you misspeak, don’t insult the intelligence of the voters by trying to put a spin on the comment. Admit you said something stupid, apologize, and get back on track.

Now for the ugly.

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras, whose priority is the election of the party’s endorsed candidates, has hurt his credibility in his defense of Macejko.

In the WFMJ story, Stevens reported that “Betras says he did call Macejko after the speech — and was satisfied with his explanation.”

Rewriting history

Betras is rewriting history. The night that Macejko made the statement at a candidates forum sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, Betras called this writer to report what had taken place.

The event occurred several weeks before the endorsement meeting of the Democratic Party committeemen and women, which meant that Gains, as the incumbent officeholder, had the chairman’s support. (Now, however, Betras is shilling for Macejko because he won the endorsement over Gains.)

When this writer received the call from the party chairman, it was clear that Macejko’s use of the word “sober” was a point of contention. Not once did Betras parse the word the way the city prosecutor has done.

Yet, the chairman said he had a conversation after the speech and was satisfied with the explanation.


As for Macejko’s response to questions posed by this writer regarding his relationship, if any, with the Cafaro family, voters can be reassured.

Here are the questions raised in a column last July and the answers:

Q: 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?

A: The answer is no. I have had no dealings, social or business, and, in fact, have no relationship with any of the above-named individuals or with any other executives of the Cafaro Co.

Q: Given that the FBI and U.S Attorney’s Office in Cleveland have 2,000 hours of tapes from the surveillance, can you state unequivocally that your name will not appear in 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?

A: I can unequivocally state that I will not appear in any conversations or any other type of personal or private interactions with the above-named individuals or any executives of the company. My answer renders the second part of the question moot.

No campaign donations

Macejko also sent a letter to Betras instructing him not to accept campaign donations from the Cafaro family for use in his campaign.

The party chairman decided it was impractical to accept money from the Cafaros and keep it from being used in Macejko’s campaign. He, therefore, announced that no money from the family would be accepted.

Why focus on Anthony, John J. and Flora? Because four years ago, they contributed $40,000 each to Gains’ opponent, Atty. Martin Yavorcik, in an attempt to defeat the prosecutor.


1johnyoung(231 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

If I am correctly understanding your commentary: "The night that Macejko made the statement at a candidates' forum sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, Betras called this writer to report what had taken place", and "The event occurred several weeks before the endorsement meeting of the Democratic Party committeemen and women", it seems clear that you were aware of Macejko's 'sober' inference well before endorsements were handed down from the democratic party. If that is accurate, why then did you wait until after the endorsement process to make this known to the public? In the Vindicator's self-proclaimed role as advocate of the people, do you not believe this is something you should have announced in advance instead of after the fact so that the precinct committee people could take in into account when casting their endorsement votes?

Yet another instance the Vindicator manipulation of the political process.

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2whit1980(10 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Macejko's response says that "I will not appear in any conversations..." He may not be personally appearing in taped conversations, but will his name come up? And what would the Cafaro's be saying about him if his name did come up? His name coming up in conversations is different than he being a party to a taped conversation--interesting word choice on his part. He does seem to have an interesting pattern of word choices though...The public is not stupid Mr. Macejko.

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3Silence_Dogood(1214 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

I have always known that David Betras way a blowhard, but now that I know that he makes late night calls to Reporters to inform on fellow Democrats , maybe his new name should be David "DEEP THROAT" Betras. Just a thought.

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4crlbk1052(99 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

I would like someone, anyone, to ask Mr. Macejko why he did NOT prosecute the case where an ex-union treasurer was found to have misappropriated union funds and the case never came to trial? This person had Mr. Macejko's wife as their bankruptcy attorney. NOTHING was done to this person, case dropped? Ask Mr. Macejko WHY it was dropped? Where is Lady Justice?

Another front page article today deals with the sealing of records in the Ally case. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? Let's question Jay about these cases and I would bet this might just be the TIP of the iceberg or shall we say, "The straw that broke the camel's back?"

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5Maillis(8 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

You have now posted a question regarding alleged embezzlement on several occasions and then asked why Jay Macejko took no action. Please understand that embezzlement is a theft crime. Thus, any theft of money over $500.00 would be a felony. Such a crime fall under the jurisdiction of the County prosecutor. If he wished the county prosecutor could present that case to the grand jury and prosecute. Any felony filed by Mr. Macejko ultimately falls to Paul Gains.

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6johnyoung(231 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

It is amazing to me that Mr. Macejko has not received any sanctions from the city of Youngstown in regard to the Basil Ally matter. He apparently violated federal law in his treatment of an employee; costing his employer a cool $110,000. Yet, he received no discipline, and was not required to personally pay for any of the settlement amount. Instead of debating his fitness to serve as county prosecutor, the Vindicator and the public should be clamoring for his removal as city prosecutor. How about an editorial, guys??

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7crlbk1052(99 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Here are the facts:
Jay Macejko was behind subpoenaing the financial records from the YSU – ACE Union. He did this with the help of his long time friend Robert Bush, who is now working in the Jobs and Family Services Office. State Highway Patrol Trooper Halligan and Lt. Cretella from YSU Police tried to strong arm the current treasurer for the financial records of the union. When the treasurer refused to comply, the state trooper handed the current treasurer the business card of Jay Macejko with his phone number hand written on the back. This happened May 4th of 2010. Her instructions were to call Jay, he wanted to talk to her privately. She refused so they went to the Grand Jury. The subpoena can be found on line.

Jay Macejko’s wife represented Carol, the former treasurer, in Federal Bankruptcy court, where she claimed some of the embezzled money as a loan from the union. The Bankruptcy case was closed in May of 2010. The Grand Jury subpoena came out on June 8th. On June 11th the criminal forensic audit was released and it was clearly stated that Carol embezzled the money. In a number of emails, Carol admitted to taking the money and that if anyone had any questions they should contact her attorney, Jay Macejko’s wife, at her law office. The county has these records. I am sure a public records request can subpoena them. The two involved in the cover-up were Jay Macejko and Robert Bush, let’s not forget they were colleagues when they both worked for the city.

FYI: the amount taken was $17,000.00

If you look at similar cases that have been in the news over the last 18 months, ALL were sentenced to jail, probation and had to make restitution.

Alright Vindy, let’s do the story BEFORE the March primary.

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

This ISSUE is NOT going away. Even though it is taken off the current list of news stories.

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

I would love to see a follow-up on that story. Is there any such thing as investigative reporting these days? If these facts are true, it smells a bit like a cover-up to me. How is the average person supposed to trust a legal system that is this corrupt? Hand washing and hand wringing at its best. I would really like to see the answers to the questions posted. I believe the public deserves the truth before election day.

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