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A probate judge challenger points to the incumbent’s financial problems

Published: Fri, October 11, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Mark Belinky’s financial problems — including five judgments against him regarding unpaid taxes and a $20,000 loan as well as about 205 parking tickets in Youngstown with 42 unpaid — led Atty. Susan Maruca to challenge him in next year’s Democratic primary.

“The probate judge is responsible for managing the finances of our most-vulnerable friends and family members,” Maruca said Thursday. “The probate judge makes sure their bills are paid, debts are satisfied, and they are financially taken care of. These individuals cannot defend themselves. Today, more than ever, I [am] concerned about our probate court and our community.”

Maruca said Judge Belinky has at least four judgments against him regarding taxes that he has not paid, resulting in at least one lien against his Boardman home.

The judge was ordered Tuesday to have his wages garnished — he makes about $105,000 annually — to pay a $20,000 loan he borrowed Oct. 14, 2008, from Mike Pallotta of Naples, Fla., and $7,466.64 in interest on that amount.

Also, Judge Belinky has about 205 parking tickets in Youngstown between 2000 and 2013, including 53 while being a judge. He has 42 unpaid tickets, totaling more than $1,200 in outstanding fines, Maruca said.

The judge couldn’t be reached Thursday by The Vindicator to comment.

Judge Belinky has had other financial problems including owing about $32,000 in federal income taxes with the IRS filing a lien on his house in 2011. At the time, he told the newspaper that the debt stemmed from relatively large sums he earned as he closed out his private law practice, and that an insufficient amount of money was withheld for federal income taxes from his wife, Cynthia, in 2009.

Then-Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, appointed Judge Belinky as probate court judge in December 2007.

Judge Belinky easily won the 2008 Democratic primary with 43.6 percent of the vote to 31.5 percent for Judge James Lanzo of Struthers Municipal Court and 24.9 percent for Maruca. He defeated Judge Scott Hunter of Mahoning County Area Court 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent in the 2008 general election for a six-year term.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Many people have had financial difficulties over the past few years. I don't hold that against him.

205 parking tickets I do. What was he (not) thinking?

He should probate himself!

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2questionreality(728 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Imagine if the image of our local politics were suddenly taken away by a truly educated electorate. Those who claim to hate it would probably miss the ongoing spectacle.

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3Old_School(39 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm betting Betras endorses this low life because Maruca left his law firm because as all Lawers that ever worked for him soon find out. They do the work, he collects the profits!

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4jailbirds93(16 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Belinky won't make it to the end of his term but that does not help Maruca. Kasich will appoint a Republican who will hold the seat with the help of Betras.

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5jailbirds93(16 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Belinky has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and clearly can't conduct his own affairs and is he overseeing the affairs of others?

Why hasn't the Ohio Supreme Court removed Belinky from the bench? What are they waiting for?

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6walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I can't wait for the televised debate. The heads on Belinky and Maruca would scare the hardiest of individuals. Seriously, the Probate Judge has a tremendous amount of responsibility for the decisions of the most helpless and vulnerable of our society and he can't keep his own affairs in order. A personal loan is one thing, but the "relatively large sums he earned" while closing his law practice and not paying enough on his spouse's income is lame. If he has been self-employed for any number of years, he knows he has to pay estimated taxes to the IRS on a quarterly basis. I speak from experience on this and, if you aren't accurate, the IRS has interest and penalties that will help you remember for the next year. With family members familiar with Belinky's questionable control on MRDD, I have always been suspect of him.

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7DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Is there anyone in Mahoning County public office who doesn't have trouble paying their bills?

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8author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Sure will miss those purple pencils.

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9Jerry(845 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

My recollection of Belinky is that he was one of those judges first in line to issue court orders to DEMAND that Mahoning County taxpayers provide him with however much money he darn well felt he wanted to spend, when the county needed to cut budgets; because in his opinion he is far more important than any of the serfs he presides over.

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10TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

So Rick, I mean Flick this is your logic.. If I or anyone can follow it. McNally was supported by the Cafaros 9 YEARS ago in 2004 and beat Belinky because he was recognized then as now as an a=sh=le. That defeat led to him owing everyone and their mother money despite being a well paid lawyer and now Probate Court Judge. All that was done so- he runs out on debt and disregards the law by racking up parking tickets which he doesn't pay either -all that was done as some vast conspiracy by the Cafaros so in his second term his opponent could defeat him as you suggest in an orchestrated effort by the Cafaros 9YEARS LATER AFTER ALLOWING HIM TO WIN. You my friend need to contact a qualified psychiatrist and have them simply listen to your obsessive paranoid views so that Judge Belinky can probate you. Only with the approval of the Cafaros because they now control him too right? Sorry, your entwined hysterics are hard to follow.

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