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Decision on Macejko by next week, mayor says

Published: Thu, March 29, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.






By David Skolnick



Mayor Charles Sammarone said he plans to decide by next Wednesday whether to take any disciplinary action against city Prosecutor Jay Macejko and others related to controversial text messages from a religious-discrimination lawsuit settled by the city.

When asked if Macejko could be fired, Sammarone said, “Nothing is off the table.”

Sammarone met Wednesday with city Law Director Anthony Farris to discuss a three-member panel’s investigation into the lawsuit’s documents, primarily text messages between Macejko and Bret Hartup, an assistant law director.

“They’re getting all the information, talking to the people involved, get the facts and get it done,” Sammarone said.

Regarding the tight deadline, Sammarone said, “I want to get it over with. People around here have a tendency to not bring things to an end. Do an investigation, get information, evaluate it and make a decision.”

The mayor said the final decision rests with him.

If the report recommends “discipline or termination or nothing, I’ll make a decision,” he said.

Macejko, Farris and all assistant prosecutors and law directors serve at the pleasure of the mayor.

The three-member panel — Farris, police Lt. Brian Butler of internal affairs, and Jonathan Huff, executive director of the city’s Human Relations Commission — will focus on an April 7, 2009, text that may have been sent by or to Macejko or Hartup about President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.

The text read: “I just received my Obama stimulus package. It was 3 pieces of chicken, a pack of kool-aid and a dime bag. Did u get yours?”

That message was on Hartup’s cellphone and among the texts he turned over to the federal judge overseeing the settled lawsuit filed against the city by Bassil Ally, a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent, who is an assistant city prosecutor.

U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko ruled Tuesday that Atty. Scott Cochran wasn’t in contempt of court for giving those text messages to The Vindicator.

The judge also signed an order unsealing the records, but as of late Wednesday, those records were still unavailable online.

Cochran represents the Islamic Society of Greater Youngs-town, which sought public release of sealed documents after the case was settled.

Macejko, city prosecutor since January 2006, declined Wednesday to comment to the newspaper because of the investigation, except to say, “You have my comments from before. I’ve made my position very clear.”

Macejko has strongly denied writing or seeing the Obama text until Feb. 13 of this year, and suggested it might be spam.

Macejko acknowledged he wrote insulting text messages to Hartup about Ally, but said they were “absolutely not” racial or ethnic slurs, and were made in “a moment of frustration” concerning an issue with Ally.

The Obama text-message issue was one of the key criticisms used against Macejko in his close-but-failed Democratic primary race for Mahoning County prosecutor against incumbent Paul J. Gains.

Cochran supported Gains.

Hartup hasn’t commented on the text messages to the media.


1gunr(49 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Shouldn't Hartup's sending or receipt of the text also be a part of the investigation? Why just Macejko? Also, the three city employees on the investigation team work with Macejko. How objective can they be? Did any of them support Macejko or Gains? Didn't Farris or the mayor think allowing Macejko to run in the first place could be a problem for city law department co-workers? Or other city workers?

Did Mrs. Hartup consult with her husband before contributing $2000.00 to his boss' campaign? Does Mr. Hartup receive any special attention because of the campaign contribution? Did any other co-workers (or subordinates) donate to Macejko or feel intimidated from donating to Gains? There are many reasons why a high ranking city official should (must) resign to challenge an incumbent in some other office. The undue influence adds pressure to public servants. Good luck with this Mr. Mayor, Mr. Ferris.

By the way didn't Lt. Butler's union endorse Macejko? Curious. . .

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2johnyoung(241 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If Sammarone does not handle this correctly, he must remember who the electors are within the city of Youngstown. They will not support someone who fosters discrimination and bigotry. If he gives Macejko and Hartup free passes on this, he will significantly decrease his chances of winning future elections in Youngstown. I think he realizes this, so It seems that these two will soon get their walking papers.

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3UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Being a transplant from the south, this is what research on this matter revealed .When Macejko rose to power with Jay Williams, the excitement was Youngstown 2010 and that changes were to take place for the good of Youngstown. That crew was going around making promises how this young posse was going to do things differently, everyone else in office , the old guard had to go. Now it is coming to pass that this young crew actually once in office continued the old ways which even made Youngstown worse. Eliminate those who have no track record of leadership but only seek the high paying jobs of local government.

The mayor will do best to take this chance to seek a prosecutor that has gained experience in the private sector.

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4diamondm35(42 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm still waiting for all of Mr Gains dirty laundry to be aired out then who will be left to even run for this office?

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5johnyoung(241 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago


As recently reported in the Vindicator, Sammarone is planning to most likely run for President of Council after his current term as Mayor ends, but has not completely ruled out running for Mayor if the city Charter is amended to make it a 2-year term. Either way, he will need the city-wide vote. He is an astute politician, and he most certainly understands that the wrong decision in this matter can be used against him by a challenger during future elections. Youngstown voters are not very forgiving when it comes to discrimination and bigotry.

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6TiredTaxpayer(44 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

This is obviously politics at its worst. The kid denied sending or receiving the text, but it mysteriously gets released by a Gains' supporter 2 weeks before a close election. It's known as an "October Surprise". You can't fire the kid for one of Leo Jennings' lies.

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7Billweaver480(52 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Tired, you will find out very soon what a liar the "kid" is when the documents are released, what will be interesting is the text about Cafaro owning the plaza that Jitso's was in. Now why would the prosecutor and Iris have any concern that Cafaro owns the plaza.?????

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8JAB(41 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If it is true that Leo Jennings is working on Mr. Gain's campaign then I for one will not be voting for Gains, period. Jennings is scum so if Gains is using him then what does that make Gains? Birds of a feather flock together. No integrity there.

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9Billweaver480(52 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Gains has always used Rubenstein from way back when, I guess Leo has been recently hired by Rubenstein, Gains had nothing to do with Jennings employment Taxpayer- again you will see that the only lies are coming from Macejko..

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10USMC0331(150 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Jitso's was never in the plaza that the Cafaro's own. It was a free standing building before it was shut down for good. I can say that no one is perfect and i'm sure the always so clean Mr. Gains has never sent or received a distasteful text message in his life right? Lol!

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11Billweaver480(52 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

USMC, you are correct that it is not in the plaza, However in the text is stated that if they take the license, it will indirectly effect Cafaro. Now why should they be concerned about Cafaro's interest??? I smell a rat! Here is the text...


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12JAB(41 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

@Billweaver, No problem that Gains uses Rubenstien. Its his money, I'm sure Gains knows what kind of tool Jennings is, so with that being said. The correct thing for Gains to do was deny his help and ask for someone with integrity, we all know Jennings lacks that.

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13USMC0331(150 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

For sure!! Iris's husband works for the Cafaro's! She's no longer the law director thank god, so there should be no worrying right? Lol! That bar would have been shut down in a week if they'd a put it in that plaza! They wanted to use the old bowling ally! There would have been 5 murders a night there!! If the Cafaro's were smart they would have never let that guy open the bar there. He's a drug dealing punk amongst other things. They would have been dragged through the mud when it al came out.

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14crlbk1052(99 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

If the 'kid' were telling the truth, this thing would be OVER, no investigation would be necessary (waste of time). Why do you think there is an investigation? Someone is lying, could be his nose is growing.

GUNR: Amazing how the assistant prosecutor has his wife contribute 2k to his boss' campaign.

When this comes to a close, the mayor should do the right thing and fire them both. With todays technology, everything is documented, even what is said on your phone. Be careful what you talk about, someone is ALWAYS listening

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15Billweaver480(52 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Docs are unsealed. looks like you are correct cribk, someone is lying. hope to get these posted soon.

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