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Mahoning engineer defends his hiring of felon



Published: Sat, May 4, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

Ex-turnpike worker convicted of theft employed as laborer

By Peter H. Milliken

milliken@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Mahoning County Engineer Patrick Ginnetti stands by his hiring of a Canfield man who admitted stealing from the Ohio Turnpike Commission while working as a toll collector there.

Paul A. Bindas, 47, of Beech Court, started his new full-time, $33,301-a-year job as a laborer with the county April 17.

On April 3, 2012, Bindas pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with fourth-degree felony theft from the turnpike between Jan. 1, 2010, and Nov. 4, 2011.

Last October, Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Bindas to six months’ probation supervised by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority and ordered $35,949 withheld from his state retirement account and sent to the turnpike as restitution.

On Feb. 11, Bindas’ probation officer recommended that Bindas be discharged from supervision because “he has complied with the rules and regulations and is no longer in need of supervision.” Judge D’Apolito then ordered Bindas’ supervision terminated.

“He’s paid the price. It was time to go back to work,” Ginnetti said of Bindas.

“He was accused of something. He pled. He paid restitution and he admitted it,” Ginnetti said. “He’s not going to be in a position here that’s handling money. He’s a laborer, and I felt he deserved a second chance to move on with his life.”

Bindas acknowledged his theft conviction on his job application, Ginnetti said.

Bindas, who is physically fit and passed a pre-employment drug test, is still within his 60-day probationary period as a new employee, Ginnetti said. “He’s a hard worker. The guys on the crew get along with him,” the engineer added.

Bindas was hired Dec. 8, 1991, as a turnpike toll collector and fired Nov, 22, 2011, for theft, said Atty. Kathleen Weiss, turnpike general counsel. His final annual salary as a full-time toll-taker was $50,772.

The restitution amount that was deducted from Bindas’ Ohio Public Employee Retirement System contributions will reduce Bindas’ pension amount, Weiss said. The $35,949 in restitution covers all the money the turnpike could prove Bindas stole from it, Weiss said.

Bindas would collect tolls from truckers making long turnpike trips, destroy the tickets they submitted and replace them with tickets he’d generate for much-shorter trips, pocketing the difference in cash, according to Weiss and Nicholas Modarelli, chief assistant Mahoning County prosecutor.

A typical trip by an 18-wheeler across the entire 241-mile Ohio Turnpike costs $35 with EZ Pass and $44 with cash, but a trip from Market Street Extension in North Lima to the East Gate near the Pennsylvania line, where Bindas worked, costs $1.25 or $1.50 respectively, Weiss noted.

The theft was investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Weiss said she was unaware of any request from the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office for verification of Bindas’ turnpike employment.

“I didn’t feel I needed to [make that request] because he’s going to be in a laborer position,” Ginnetti said.


Comments

1BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This is just the start of what is coming, Now they make him Sanitary Engineer

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2stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Get over yourself, Ginger. Paul Bindas is a proud Haney alum.

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3TERRAPINST(319 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree that a charge of Theft is a crime that may require second consideration, BUT he was said to have fully complied with all aspects of sentence to the point of early termination. GDOG that means he has paid. Exercising poor judgment or just plain f---ing up shouldn't mean you're not allowed to have a life again. I respect Ginnetti's stones to hire someone who has paid his debts despite the public outcry. Its honorable. RETGUY should non-felons be hired even if unqualified? Again, this is small potatoes jealousy from those who don't have a public job. Give a guy a chance. I bet if Bindas was your kid, husband, brother -son you'd think different. Its' amazing to see the pleasure people take in punishing others. So weird. Those commenting: none of you ever stole anything huh? Nothing-ever. BS

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4redeye1(4880 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Terrapinst You have to be stupid , yes I would say some people have stolen something from their employeer at one or another (pen,penciis paperclips etc.) But they never totalled $35,000. plus. There is the diference!

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5stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Move on, Ginger. It really doesn't matter what people did in the '70's, or where they went to school.

Focus on things that you can impact. Although, I realize that probably isn't much.

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6sue(176 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Yo! this is Youngstown. Budda Bing.

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7grand4dad(202 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

TERRAPINST, "should non-felons be hired even if unqualified?" Give me a break!! The job he's been rehired for is a LABORER. There are plenty of non-felon persons in this valley qualified to be a laborer and would give their eye teeth for a $33,00/year job with the county getting health care and other bennies. This is just sickening. Furthermore, what kind of restitution did this guy make? The money paid to the turnpike was withheld from his state pension fund. That's right, nothing came out of his pocket. They just took some money out of his pension fund, big deal. DISGUSTING!

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8steelwagon(284 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Tradition is alive and well in the good old Mahoning Valley.

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9Joe_Catz(3 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This is for all you negative idiots out there everyone deserves a second chance unless it’s for murder, rape, child abuse, child molestation things on that order. How is a man or women supposed to support his family without a job? You people are the first ones to bitch if the man went on welfare that you would have to support him and his family. If he went out and choose the life of stealing and went to jail you would be bitching that you as tax payers are paying for him to be in jail and his family is on welfare. Paul Bindias admitted what he did was found guilty and was punished. The man deserves to go on with his life. He went out and got a JOB no matter what the job is he got one. I admire Mr. Ginnetti the Mahoning County Commissioners or who ever gave him the job for hiring Paul Bindas more people should grow some Balls and do the same. Our laws really need to change on some cases on convicted felons.

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10Joe_Catz(3 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This is for all you negative idiots out there everyone deserves a second chance unless it’s for murder, rape, child abuse, child molestation things on that order. How is a man or women supposed to support his or her family without a job? You people are the first ones to bitch if the man went on welfare that you would have to support him and his family. If he went out and choose the life of stealing and went to jail you would be bitching that you as tax payers are paying for him to be in jail and his family to be on welfare. Paul Bindias admitted what he did was found guilty and was punished. The man deserves to go on with his life. He went out and got a JOB no matter what the job is he got one. I admire Mr. Ginnetti the Mahoning County Commissioners or who ever gave him the job for hiring Paul Bindas more people should grow some Balls and do the same. Our laws really need to change on some cases on convicted felons.

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11mrblue(1115 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

WOW! Again politics at its best.

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12stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

You are important, Ginger. Self important.

Congratulations.

Now, get over yourself.....

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13Joe_Catz(3 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

He made a mistake. He stole he pled guilty and was convicted. At least Paul Bindas had the balls to go out and look for another job .DOSE NOT matter how he got it who gave it to him he went and got a job rather than go on welfare. And for the idiot who said it came out of his state pension fund nothing out of pocket THAHT WAS HIS MONEY it wasn't yours or mine it was his. He lost that money he could never regain. TOOOO MANY IDIOTS giving there point of view that have nothing better to do than bad rap people. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Everybody in this world has baggage WHAT'S YOURS

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14janeyblue(227 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ Joe,this scumbucket didn't make a "mistake". He thought long and hard about how much he could get away with taking and from who. Totally premeditated. A "mistake" is spilling your coffee on a stack of important papers or knocking over the Cheeto display in Wallyworld,a "mistake"is not robbing your employer day in and day out. If he well and truly wanted a job scrub toilets at Mickey D's,wash dishes deliver newspapers. Like most every other poor sod does around here. It must be nice to have another job handed to you. His labor should be shoveling crap for the rest of his days. Build some character instead of having his hand out and his nose up someone's arose.

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15rickybobby(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Birds of a feather......these 2 are one in the same. Both thieves. Ginnetti knows alot about stealin money. Just ask his former employees he stole money off of by not paying the payroll taxes he deducted out every two weeks. He fits right in with county govt. Dont fault Bindis for applying, fault "Waggs" for walking in this dudes shoes already and feelin sorry for him. I believe "Waggs" is still making his restitution for his theft.

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16lumper(284 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

what about don slater ? search wkbn news for him.

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17esssie(4 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree that all felons must support their families. If one deserves a second chance, they all deserve the chance if qualified for the position. There should have been some sort of posting for the position. I know many people in Y-town who need jobs that pay more than minimum wage. There are quite a few college-educated persons who are working in positions they are overqualified for.Why is someone who has a PhD from Youngstown State working as a security guard? It's all about "who you know."

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18auntiem4cabs(113 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I would like a job working the toll booths!!!

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