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Candidate Dave Engler has $161,616 in federal liens for unpaid taxes

Published: Wed, February 12, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

By David Skolnick



David Engler, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to the 7th District Court of Appeals, has $161,616 in liens filed by the IRS on his property for unpaid taxes, according to documentation filed at the Mahoning County Recorder’s Office.

Of that amount, $154,193 is for unpaid personal federal taxes and $7,423 for taxes not paid by his law practice.

The amount would be higher, but Engler, of Canfield, made a $5,313 payment to the Internal Revenue Service in October 2011.

Despite the IRS paperwork, Engler contends the amount is about $50,000 to $60,000, and said he’s making a $20,000 payment later this month.

“These issues arise when you have a small business,” he said. “Penalties and interest are about 60 percent of the amount. The IRS interest and penalties are worse than a loan shark.”

Engler said the issue “doesn’t damage” his campaign.

“It poses a challenge and I’m dealing with it,” he said. “It’s an issue that deserves to be addressed. You have to pay your taxes.”

Engler’s tax issues started Dec. 31, 2006, and he said he’s been making payments for about two years.

Also, Engler owes $11,345 to the Ohio Department of Taxation with a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court order to pay the money two months ago. Engler said he resolved the matter two weeks ago.

Engler, a county educational service center board member and former county commissioner, is running against Youngstown Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio in the May 6 Democratic primary for a seat on the court of appeals.

Judge Joseph J. Vukovich isn’t seeking re-election, leaving the seat open in this year’s election. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Judge Carol Ann Robb of Columbiana County Municipal Court, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Donofrio declined Tuesday to discuss Engler’s issues, except to say, “I don’t think it’s becoming of a judicial candidate to be negative. People expect more from judicial candidates.”

It was only a week ago that Engler called for Donofrio to withdraw as a candidate because the latter’s brother, Judge Gene Donofrio, already serves on the court.

Engler brought it up again Tuesday, and questioned if Anthony Donofrio knew of the corrupt activities of former county Prosecutor James A. Philomena when he worked for him in the 1990s. Philomena, who died in 2007, was convicted in 1999 of racketeering.

Donofrio said Tuesday he wouldn’t respond and “people can judge me on my career.”

Donofrio said last week that Engler “should be more worried about his character,” mentioning a 2006 public reprimand from the Ohio Supreme Court for having a consensual sexual relationship with a client in 2004.

Engler said last week that he “learned from my mistake” and that it was 10 years ago.


1michael1757(279 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

For him to even say,50 or 60 thousand,I don't want him playin' with my money.He can't handle his own life.I also find it hard to believe the IRS would make a $110,000 mistake.Then you say your gonna make a 20,000 payment later this month,whats that suppossed to mean? If you don't have the 20,000 now,wheres it coming from.Is he gonna borrow it.Even if hedoes borrow it,he'll still be $20,000 in the hole,then what?They're all fu*kin' crooks!!!

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2formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Democratic scum like Engler/Belinky feed from the taxpayer trough, beg for more from taxpayers, nonchalantly dismiss their own unpaid taxes as a nonissue, and then have the audacity to ask voters to trust them. Their arrogance with area voters truly knows no bounds.

Be it $50,000-60,000 or $150,000, the guy failed to pay his taxes, period. Despite IRS documentation, Engler apparently still isn't capable of telling the truth and blames IRS penalties and interest for causing much of his financial woes. There's not much difference in his IRS "loan shark" comments and county commissioners shaking down citizens with service shutdown threats unless new taxes are passed.

I agree with Knightcap. Cut off the money faucet to these clowns by voting down the sales tax renewal in May and watch the political alarms go off. Once the renewal is defeated, watch the commissioners use the classic "public safety" scare tactic by threatening to layoff as many county deputies as possible until the renewal is passed. After all, who would be available to take Mike Sciortino home from Arby's?

The Mahoning County Democratic Party has treated voters like suckers for too long. These political hacks are scared that area voters realize their power to change government business as usual by withholding their funding and putting up with subsequent service inconveniences for the long-term interest of political change, rather than petty political self-interests. They don't believe that county voters have the guts to stick by a commitment to better government by continuously voting down the sales tax renewal.

Lastly, I commend Mr. Skolnick on his recent investigative reporting. He's not making many political friends by exposing the corruptive political culture that many have known still exists in this area. Keep up the good work.

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3questionreality(296 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks like the Vindy's radio buddy will have to settle for a Bronze in this year's competition.

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4UticaShale(854 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Engler IMHO is obviously delusional like many of our leaders in the Valley. Look at the history of YTown, these bums really believe they are annointed. The worse part of it, is we vote for them. The brains have truly drained.

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5poiuyt(6 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Anybody who has liens or do not pay their taxes should not be able to run.

How can anybody look at them seriously no role model their.
And he wants to represent the public
wake up people.

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6polhack(129 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

So far, I think everyone has correctly bemoaned the nature of the self-serving hacks running local government. I do agree with Engler's comments on the IRS though; the really big thieves are in DC and the IRS is the machine that supports their power. Anyone know if Charley Rangel, former head of the House Ways and Means Committee that sets tax policies, has yet paid the taxes on his millions of dollars worth of income property? Sure, he got his wrist slapped for that, but has he paid up? Anyone not among the political elite, would be doing time for such behavior. Charley is still eating on the cuffs of taxpayers at the same troughs serving his "honorable" Congresional colleagues.

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7stan_smagala(56 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

We get the government we deserve. We have for years. These latest few to make the news are just part of a long line of rum-dums that we have put in office.

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8wender(4 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

There are far worse things out there than a person who owes on taxes...no matter what, the government is going to get it's money! The question is I wouldn't want family members on the same court system... talk about running the roost of a fair case. Where is the justice? As far as criminals running for office, people forget about 1999 when certain candidates ran for office and been convicted of a crime, but people turn their heads.
Why is Donofrio worried about being negative... it sounds to me he has been doing his homework.

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9billdog1(1412 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

If they can't pay their taxes they should NOT be allowed to even run for office.

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10Roger_Thornhill(577 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

“It’s an issue that deserves to be addressed. "

So is why Engler resigned as county commissioner the same day Morley quit as Dem chairman. (or whatever position Morley quit).

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11kurtw(876 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Formerdemliberal is correct- The Vindicator and Skolnick in particular are doing a wonderful job- a service to the taxpayers- pursuing this issue.

I only wish we had real choice in this area- voting down individual candidates isn't enough- we need to punish the organization that produces them- The Democrat Machine.

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12endthismess(315 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Engler...what a huge waste of skin! ! N O more corrupt sleazy people running for office...PLEASE! What aren't all these asszzzs checked OUT before they go on "our" ballot???
MAKE NEW QUALIFICATION RULES AND VET THESE DUMBO'S. Sew up all these manufactured sewer pit holes will ya party officials????? Do something good for a change.

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13DwightK(1266 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

If you can't handle paying your taxes you can't be trusted to sit in judgement of others. Character matters.

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14ryan330(1 comment)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I had a very negative experience with this individual I'd like to share.

He once contacted me to redesign his website and I was hired for the job. He assigned his assistant to make sure the job got done-- she was the person to provide all content and direction. This project went from going in the right direction (receiving positive feedback, concepts approved by his assistant, etc). As I presented a finished website, I received an email that he didn't like how it looked/anything about it.

Even at that point, I was going above and beyond and was willing to make the website he wanted. He declined and said he was hiring someone else...

...over a year later, he still has his clunky, outdated website up.

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15Silence_Dogood(1356 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

wender would you please tell us what crimes are acceptable and which ones are not, to be qualified for this office. After all not paying taxes is still a crime in America and there are thousands of Americans that are in jail for that crime. You state "The question is I wouldn't want family members on the same court system... talk about running the roost of a fair case.", could you please clarify what part of your statement is a question. And maybe you could show us the part of the Law that states that two members of the same family can't hold office at the same time in the court system. And then when you are done scratching your head in vain trying to find the non-existant an explanation would help in understanding what the heck "running the roost of a fair case " means.
You are not by chance a "client with benefits" are you?

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162muchtax(346 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Engler n Belinky can't pay there taxes I would never vote either clown. then you got sorentino having the sheriffs dept drive his drunk ass around! None of these idiots deserves the taxpayers money! People need to start voting for the best person not just because they are democrats or that Dave Betrash said they should be voted in?

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17YtownParent(331 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

"I only wish we had real choice in this area- voting down individual candidates isn't enough- we need to punish the organization that produces them- The Democrat Machine."

They can be punished loud in clear on election day. Vote No on the tax renewal. And write in None of the Above for all positions. When none of the candidates win and the party has no one in the general election, Betras and the exec-committee will get the message.

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18besthopes4ytown(21 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I too would like to commend David Skolnick for some excellent and informative investigative journalism in the recent months. It's about time the public/voters/taxpayers are informed of the daily dirty dealings and above-the-law carrying on of our local office holders. The Hagan's shady state endorsement pursuit, Judge Belinky and whatever whole lotta crazy is going on over there, and now Engler. The more informed we are, the more power we have to eliminate these criminals from our community or at least hold them accountable. Now lets only hope that the Vindicator presses further to have the Oakhill documents unsealed for public view that the Don Cafaro himself and his family requested to have sealed for "privacy reasons." Gimme a break, we deserve to know! It is our right. Youngstown is an American city, not a Sicilian or Russian one, right? Thanks David for not falling into the fear trap, or the look-the-other way attitude so many in our city fall victim to.

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19kurtw(876 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Ytownparent, you're right- the best way to punish them is by stopping the cash flow. I won't be voting for that tax increase and I just wish more voters would follow my example and start voting Republican. I started in 92- thanks to Slick Willy- and I haven't looked back since- I vote (whenever possible) a straight Republican Ticket and when I can't, I either abstain or write my own name in rather than vote for a Democrat- it's needed for balance. We have a "One party" system in Mahoning County and that's bad- even for the Democratic Party- they need somebody to keep them honest- I would be saying the same if Republicans had most of the power: it's fundamentally unhealthy for one organization to have that kind of power.

The only levies I support are for safety forces- Police and Fire- the rest- screw them- until they change their ways I refuse to give them a dime of my money.

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20wender(4 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

well, Silence_dogood, how would you feel having 3 judges listen your case and two out of the three are related, do you think you are REALLY going to get that fair case heard. Like I said before, no crime will go undone. They are going to have to pay taxes....old saying: two things in life we know for sure..... 1. everyone pays taxes, with or without penalties. 2. We die. And your a typical male... always think there's a motive.

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21HSG(132 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

Well, you really ARE giving "them" some portion of your own money, but I won't tell anybody!

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22kurtw(876 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

HSG, I know what you mean- I'm being taxed whether I like it or not like everybody else- what I meant to say is I won't give them "more than I have to". I certainly won't be voting for the sales tax increase coming up and I stopped voting to support Public Education a long time ago- the only Levies I support are for safety forces- Police and Fire- Public Transportation, Special Education and the Libraries- that's about it.

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23uptowngirl(113 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

wender--your knowledge of the Appeals Court is lacking. The Appeals court judges are reviewing the decision of the lower court judges to determine if the law and court proceedings were correct and/or if any errors were committed by the attorneys in the original trial. Based upon the Appeals Court findings there may be a new trial or not. The Appeals court is not in the business of trying defendants.

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24republicanRick(1169 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

The Vindicator in the last election endorsed a washed up (now dead) Charlie Wilson over the incumbent, Republican Bill Johnson.

The Vindy editors have been one of the main problems over the years. Maybe Sweetwood and Skolnick will finally change their stripes and endorse an honest Republican over their beloved ultra liberals.

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25Rooster(78 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

Folks, it's sure getting harder to pay my taxes these days. Too bad this is an anonymous opinion board, because any tax dodger's lawyer would love to get you folks on a jury. I got behind on my taxes when I was younger and you'd think I'd committed murder the way the IRS talked to me and reading those letters was enough to keep me awake at night. I was worried sick the in-laws would find out, let alone the whole county. And here this Engler figures he'll get into office with you fools voting for him, and he'll make it up under the table, like that poor Belinky. Believe me, lots of folks think a judge with money problems is a big opportunity. Engler is just getting free advertising with this in the newspapers, it sure isn't hurting his chances with numbskull voters like yourselves. I used to believe in the popular vote for judges.

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26wender(4 comments)posted 8 months ago

uptowngirl... I know very well that the Board of Appeals is to hear the case to check for errors of a prior case. What are your odds of a case being reviewed from two judges ( brothers) having more in common that having picked the same type of work, school, or area to practice... Tired of all the connections of who knows who and who is someone's family member. The day of getting your job with your ability , education, and training are long gone.

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