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Youngstown cuts deal with company that didn't pay rent in 7 years


Published: Thu, November 21, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

City council authorized the administration to pay up to $150,000 to a company that operated a gravel-making facility on city-owned property without a lease or paid rent and violated the city’s zoning code.

The payment, unanimously approved Wednesday by council, would be for about 15,000 tons of processed gravel and possibly another 15,000 tons of unprocessed aggregate.

City Law Director Anthony Farris said A.P. O’Horo, which operated the facility on Albert Street for seven years, likely is going to relocate its aggregate-processing business to the former YBM Corp. site on Logan Avenue and Hubbard Road.

The company would pay about $40,000 to buy four acres there, he said. An appraisal of the property puts its value at approximately $10,000 per acre.

The deal with O’Horo isn’t finalized. Farris declined to say how much the company would pay in back rent and how much the city would pay for the materials.

“We’ve worked out a very broad agreement,” he said. “We’d spend money, but we’d get a lot of aggregate.”

That material would be used by the city for excavation backfill for sewer repairs.

Farris said $50,000 is closer to what the city will end up paying O’Horo, and called the $150,000 limit a “worst-case scenario.”

City officials said Monday that the economic-development office failed seven years ago to enter into a lease agreement with O’Horo and didn’t seek rent from the company.

On top of that, noise and dust problems have existed for years at the property, which is zoned residential and institutional, the latter allowing for schools, libraries, churches and other nonprofit uses. O’Horo has used the facility for industrial purposes in apparent violation of the city zoning code.

Despite approving the deal, city council members said after Wednesday’s meeting that they were shocked to learn about the lack of a lease and rent for seven years, and the zoning issue by reading an article in Tuesday’s Vindicator.

“I’m absolutely surprised,” said Councilman T.J. Rodgers, D-2nd. “Department heads need to oversee what’s happening, and the department heads need to be overseen.”

Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th, said, “There should be accountability. The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing. At least the business is being moved out of a residential area.”

O’Horo stopped crushing construction material at the Albert Street location about six to eight months ago after being told to stop by the city after the lack of a lease and the zoning issues were discovered, Mayor Charles Sammarone said.

Also, O’Horo is being kicked off the property by Dec. 1.

The city isn’t sure what will be done with the 15,000 tons of unprocessed aggregate as it can’t be crushed at the Albert Street location because that would violate the zoning code, Farris said.

“It will likely have to be removed,” he said of the unprocessed aggregate. “It’s undetermined if the city will take it, O’Horo will take it or another company will take it. But their operations have to be gone at that site.”

City officials will meet today or Friday with O’Horo to work on finalizing the tentative deal, Farris said.

Also Wednesday, council agreed to permit the administration to advertise for proposals and enter into a contract with a company for residential garbage removal.

The city’s four-year contract with Ohio Valley Waste Service expires Feb. 28.

Several council members expressed concerns Wednesday about Ohio Valley, saying they’ve received complaints from constituents about the company not picking up garbage at scheduled times and not taking bigger items, such as old furniture.

Council will consider a proposal at its Dec. 4 meeting to reduce the monthly residential garbage fee by $1 beginning in January, said Finance Director David Bozanich.

The current monthly fee is $15.75 a month.

The city has a surplus in the fund because of an increase in the number of residents paying the fee and better collection of that money, Bozanich said.


Comments

1UticaShale(853 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

"The Walking Braindead" This is Youngstown, the land of the walking brain dead.

Here's another one, on the corner of Lansdowne and Thornhill sits a pumpstation owned by the City, they have no ROW, they do not own the land, they pay no rent. They are squatting and do not care.

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2bmanresident(597 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

more incompetent leaders driving out business and losing jobs. I hope Mr O'Horo moves his business outside of Youngstown borders so he and his employees can enjoy not paying a ridiculous amount of City income tax!

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3johnyoung(241 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Just a bit of digging by the crack Vindicator investigative team would reveal that this same individual, operating under a different name, conducted the same operation free of charge on a different piece of city owned land for at least 10 years before moving to the Albert Street location.

I have lost all faith in our current city leaders, especially Sammarone who knows the whole story here but is now somehow applying flawed logic to provide his good buddies with an undeserved windfall. This borders on criminal.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Then O'Horo will kick-back another 20k to Chuckie's boy Chris to keep is starving bar alive. John Sweirz is brokering the deal.

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5ytowncrazy(32 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

To whom do I need to give an envelope of cash to get this kind of deal? I would love some 7 year free rent for my company.

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6YtownParent(290 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

In the infamous words of Forest Gump: "Stupid is as Stupid does." So apparently Forest has a higher IQ than all of council combined.

The bigger question is how did they have water service, when you are supposed to have to show a deed proving you own the property or a lease with your landlord. I want to know if O'Horo was paying for it or if us taxpayers have been footing the bill for his operational costs too.

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7redvert(2056 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

And some of you may still wonder why Ytown is referred to as the "armpit" of Ohio!!!

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8HSG(121 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Here is an idea--
Find a city employee, give him a car and I-phone, and Explain the job as checking the status of ALL city owned property on a rolling basis. A list of such property would then be cross referenced with the photos taken.

If the information is in conflict, ask questions and get answers!

This requires record keeping, time management and physical and mental energy.

NOT impossible!

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9Knightcap(693 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

it's 2013 and city hall continues to operate like the characters Don Fanucci and Tony Gazzo. I sure hope McNally can make a difference down there (holding my breath). Mafia style politics have to end. He has to clean house with an all new administration. No carryovers. It's like one f-up after another whether it's intentionally or not. Another black eye Youngstown shown to any new business prospects was the strong arm tactics it tried to use on that new Racino in Austintown. McNally, this is directed toward you, when you get in office give that business venture the water supply needed. And any other business that wants to come in, treat them like any customer. Don't send out the wrong message like your predecessors have.

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10YtownParent(290 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

@bdmnresident

Mr. O'Horo isn't running a legal business. He's been stealing from the taxpayers of Youngstown & anyone else who gets services from the city in any way. There's no difference between his actions and if I moved into a rental home you owned in a Boardman residential area, put up a sign and started running a convenience store and never paid you rent. Then when you kicked me out I made you pay me for whatever possessions I left behind.

You should be upset with the city officials letting him get away with it, not that they stopped his thievery. Especially if your water comes from the city, like most boardman residents, because that's why your paying such a high premium on your water bill to cover what the theives stole.

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11walter_sobchak(1891 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

While authorizing to spend $5 per ton for aggregate may not sound like much, the city could probably negotiate it for less. the alternative would be to force AP O'Horo to remove the stockpile immediately, which would be costly. The city could take it off their hands for a portion of the back rent. It doesn't seem likely that AP O'Horo was just moving their crusher equipment around to vacant lands without city "leaders" having some knowledge of it. The truth is probably in the middle; they were given a "handshake" agreement with proper "paperwork".

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12kurtw(846 comments)posted 9 months, 1 week ago

Last comment is good. Nails it. Y-town- I can't believe this place. Six years and they're finally getting around to nipping this freeloader.

Question I have is: What about the Vindy with their crack investigative journalists- why weren't they on this a long time ago?

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