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Public has a right to details of suit against Macejko, city



Published: Tue, January 24, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

There’s no compelling reason for U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko to maintain the seal on evidence submitted in a religious and race discrimination lawsuit, other than it was agreed to by the parties.

The suit, filed by Assistant Youngstown City Prosecutor Bassil Ally against his boss, city Prosecutor Jay Macejko, and the city of Youngstown, was settled last fall — just before trial was to begin. The sealing of documents and audiotapes relating to the case was part of the settlement that resulted in Ally’s receiving a $110,000 lump sum payment and an annual pay raise of $4,000. His salary is now $65,621.

Macejko wrote a letter of apology to his employee.

Given that the case is over, the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown has filed a motion with Judge Boyko to have the seal removed. It can be, if the parties to the settlement agree.

Although the Islamic Society is seeking the release, it would seem that Ally would have no objections to the documents and audiotapes being made public. Thus, it’s up to the administration of Mayor Charles Sammarone.

Transparency in city government has been the hallmark of Sammarone’s five-month tenure, and we have every reason to believe he will come down on the side of openness. Of course, the mayor will follow the advice of his law director, Anthony Farris, who said in an interview with The Vindicator, “I don’t think we have any great secrets.”

Thus, there should be no hesitation on the part of the city to support the Islamic Society’s motion submitted by Atty. Scott R. Cochran to make the evidence public.

“Records filed in a judicial proceeding are presumptively public, and may not be sealed unless there is a compelling need to do so,” Cochran argued. He noted that because the lawsuit was settled, there will not be a trial. Thus, fair trial rights of the defendants are not an issue.

In his lawsuit, Ally said he had been harassed because of his Muslim faith and Middle Eastern descent and that Macejko threatened his job because he took a late lunch break at 1:30 p.m. each Friday to attend a mosque service.

The suit said Ally was subjected to derogatory comments regarding his religion and national origin by a co-worker and another city employee.

Mosque services

Ally said he told his supervisors when he was hired that he would need an accommodation to his work schedule to attend Friday mosque services, the suit said.

The Islamic Society believes that making the evidence public will help promote tolerance for the Muslim religion.

Macejko, who is challenging Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains in the March 6 Democratic primary, said it was up to the law director and others to decide.

But, his opinion does matter, which is why we would urge him to come out in favor of unsealing the documents and audiotapes.

The public has a right to know why the city settled with Ally. Even though the $110,000 lump sum payment was made by the city’s insurance company, does anyone doubt that it will affect future premiums?

As for the pay raise, would Ally have received that amount had he not been forced to seek legal redress against religious and racial discrimination in the prosecutor’s office?


Comments

1NoBS(1967 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

So part of the settlement was the agreement that the case details would be sealed, and now the local Muslim group wants to renege on that part of the agreement. Maybe Bassil Ally could give back part of the CA$H settlement he got (funny how a big pile of money makes all the boo-boos stop hurting) if he really wants to vacate the agreement.

Macejko was right to question Ally's work time. Are we, the taxpayers, getting our money's worth from him, when he (apparently) doesn't work as many hours as the "infidels" around him? Macejko should have told Ally to put his big-boy dishdasha on and get to work.

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2walter_sobchak(1927 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

"Ally said he told his supervisors when he was hired that he would need an accommodation to his work schedule to attend Friday mosque services, the suit said."

Didn't Ally understand the work times for the job? Why couldn't he just use a roll up rug in his office and face east? Wish I would have made some demands on my boss before they hired me.

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3pgurney(281 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I completely disagree that he should withdraw from the prosecutor's race. Nor should he resign from his current position.

IMO, this employee should not have been hired if he couldn't work the hours that the job required. NO special concessions should have been afforded him. There is a time and a place for religion and religious practices and it is not during previously set work hours.

And before anyone asks, I am a Christian, and I say the same thing about our religious practices as well - there is a time and a place.

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4walter_sobchak(1927 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

johnyoung,
Atty. Macejko could have easily provided many accommodations to Atty. Ally. Just as I hang a crucifix in my office, I feel the simplest would be to allow Atty. Ally to hang a picture of MoeHammed in his office. THAT would take care of it.

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5redeye1(4576 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

YBR its liberal thinkers like you that have ruin this country. If you can't work the hours you shouldn't be hired. But Then he would file a lawsuit claiming he wasn't hired because of his religion. This guy is nothing more than a con guy. Makes one wonder, what is next?

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6NoBS(1967 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

JohnYoung and YoungstownBornAndRaised, what about the fact that the issue between Ally and Macejko was settled and agreed upon, and now Ally and the pro-Islam group he's associated with want to renege on part of that agreement? The agreement was that Ally would receive a pile of money, in exchange for which all his hurt feelings would be assuaged, and the deal would be kept out of the public. This happens all the time, BTW.

If Ally feels that strongly that he is "owed" more, then he should give back the money he agreed to accept, and start over. Ally and the Islamic group are the ones breaking that agreement - they're the ones in the wrong here.

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7NoBS(1967 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

JohnYoung, from the editorial: "Although the Islamic Society is seeking the release, it would seem that Ally would have no objections to the documents and audiotapes being made public."

It doesn't matter who came up with the idea - did Ally agree to it or not? (And I'm not so sure the "court of public opinion" around here will punish Macejko for his requiring his employees to work their prescribed hours.) And if Ally is not associated with the Islamic Society, why do they have any credibility in this issue in the first place? In what way are they aggrieved, if Ally isn't a part of them?

For that matter, how would any person or group come to the realization, at this particular point in time, that "sealed" doesn't necessarily mean "sealed?" Why wouldn't they simply not agree to the sealing of the judgement, or why wouldn't they immediately petition for the release of that information, last fall, since they apparently feel it's so vital for the public to know it? Or perhaps did someone, with something to GAINS, put a bug in a few appropriate ears at this 'convenient' time?

There's no way anybody can construe this in any other way than that Gains had a hand in this. There are just too many coincidences.

And speaking of spinning, what allegedly happened between Ally and Macejko is between them, and with Ally receiving his cash bonanza, that matter is over with. If Ally wasn't satisfied that the matter was over with, why did he take the money? If he's satisfied, what business is it of the Islamic Society, or anybody? Why mention it at all, if you're not trying to spin things?

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8whit1980(10 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

WOW! What happened is between Ally and Macejko??? Well I, as a voter, want to know what exactly Macejko did to discriminate. He already lost my vote by the fact that he discriminated. But I want to know how egregious his conduct was. And the public should know! How sick and twisted that anyone would try to justify racism, which is what discrimination is. He did something that cost the city a ton of money and his suitability as a prosecutor, a defender of rights and law, is now called into question. There's no way anybody can construe THAT any other way.

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9NoBS(1967 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow - the Gains supporters are out in full force.

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10NoBS(1967 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

cribk, that's fine. Let's do away completely with back-room deals, and not allow ANY sealed or private court decisions to be made. Get them all out in the open, using your rationale.

Don't pick and choose - get ALL the dirty laundry out in the open - from everybody.

What I object to isn't the hiding of information from the public, which happens all the time, BTW, so much as I object to Gains using this unethical tactic in a transparent effort to smear Macejko.

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11Maillis(8 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

17000. = felony = PAul Gains jurisdiction, and crib k, u know it.

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12moonie(5 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

you're giving everyone a lecture on ethics. amusing.

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13Rooster(78 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

This isn't going to hurt him any. His campaign got a pretty good boost from all those Mooney apologies and donations all around.

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14Rooster(78 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Gains is getting my vote for the only reason that matters around here: His particular corruption has got nothing to do with bribe taking. That's the best we can hope for in these parts. Sure he's got his problems, who doesn't? But anyone looking at him can tell he's not looking for an extra dollar and he's not looking out for rich friends. Too bad he couldn't have hired better quality help, though.

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15Caliber380(41 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Jimmy, I have another one for you on Jay to think about.. Google articles on Dave Imbrogno and Mill creek park, Jay was one that voted to give Dave $96.000 in cash and health benefits for one year... Have you seen details of Daves resignation?? It's all hush Hush to the public,, and one article stated to prevent a future lawsuit... Macejko is all about Hiding what goes on when he is in charge.
As for Gaines and his raises,,, I don't recall that officeholders have to get approval from Commissioners on raises in their office. Did you know that Gaines also came in under budget and gave back $8,000 to the general fund?
As for him being in court?? He is hired to run the office, that's what he does. He has lawyers that handle the trials.

Do you see what Macejko has cost the city and county taxpayers already?? He is not to be trusted!
My Vote goes to Gaines.

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16Caliber380(41 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Jimmy- I don't think Mr. Gaines can or did give himself a raise. You need to do more research My friend.

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17Caliber380(41 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Jimmy, Post a link to any news reports that Gaines gave himself a raise. It's clear that you have no clue... No go back and think about your friend Macejko and why the records are not unsealed? Perhaps Mr Macejko has quite a few office holders in his pocket?

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18Rooster(78 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Say, I did wonder why we had to foot the bill to send that Mill Creek park fella packing for not ever getting down to business. That guy as good as won the lottery, and for no accomplishment at all. Did someone's big mouth get us in trouble with that guy, too? Guess it's easy to run your mouth when you got the tax money to bail you out. Course I guess every outfit needs one of those guys that know how to sew up the loose ends on the q.t. Shouldn't be the same guy who causes the problem though.

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19Caliber380(41 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh , I'm sure that if Mr Gaines gave himself a raise it would hit the media., Moron yourself!

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20Caliber380(41 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Jimmy, let Me get this straight, you are saying that the County prosecutor designates his own salary and can give himself a raise as he sees fit?
In other words if Gaines wanted to double his salary he could just go ahead and do it?

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21Rooster(78 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Well, Mr. LOL - whatever was told to this worker and whatever was sized enough to do the telling, it cost us taxpayers a bundle. Too his brain wasn't as big as his mouth and those nether parts youll be voting for.

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