facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

Ex-Judge Belinky’s guilty plea should set the stage for others



Published: Sun, May 11, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Mark Belinky did not resign from the all-important position of Mahoning County Probate judge just because he violated campaign-finance laws. The Belinky we’ve known for many years would have risen up in all his arrogance and challenged state investigators to “take your best shot” — in the words of this region’s most famous criminal, former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr. — if that’s all they had against him.

No, Belinky resigned because agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation appear to have a litany of criminal charges they’re prepared to file against him if he doesn’t cooperate with them in their wide-ranging investigation of government corruption.

It will be recalled that after the then judge’s office in the courthouse and his home in Boardman were searched by the BCI agents, with the assistance of the FBI the sheriff’s department, a court document became public that laid out possible charges against him. They are engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, tampering with records, bribery, money laundering, theft and theft in office.

The tampering with records charge, to which he pleaded guilty last week, relates to his falsifying his 2008 pre- and post-election campaign finance reports. He won the primary that year, defeating Struthers Municipal Judge James Lanzo and Atty. Susan Maruca, who succeeded Tuesday in winning the Democratic nomination for probate judge. In the 2008 general election, Belinky defeated County Court Judge Scott Hunter, a Republican.

Low-level felony

By pleading guilty to a low-level felony charge — visiting Judge Ronald Suster presided over the case — Belinky has avoided serious jail time. Indeed, he could walk away with probation and a fine.

For that, he had better provide state and federal investigators with dynamite information that will cause his partners-in-crime to be led away in handcuffs.

Indeed, if the potential bribery charge stems from his receiving money from individuals in the private sector who have no qualms about lining the pockets of corrupt officials, we, the people, have right to know who they are.

For too long, we have watched as immoral public officials are called to account for their criminal behavior, while those who corrupted them continue to live free.

It is noteworthy that the day Belinky stood before Judge Suster there was another story of equal significance: former county treasurer-turned-federal inmate Lisa Antonini is now a resident of the Community Corrections Association facility on Market Street in Youngstown where she is serving the final month of a five-month sentence.

Antonini pleaded guilty to accepting a $3,000 bribe from a prominent Valley businessman (The Vindicator has determined it is Anthony M. Cafaro Sr., retired president of the Cafaro Co.) to do his bidding.

U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi gave Antonini a tap on the wrist after federal prosecutors said the disgraced officeholder had been extremely cooperative in their ongoing investigation of government corruption.

Person-of-interest list

Now that she’s on the verge of being released, the law-abiding residents of the Mahoning Valley have a right to know what information she provided and whose names are on the federal government’s person-of-interest list.

Silence isn’t golden when it comes to government corruption in the Mahoning Valley.

Belinky had better be giving the BCI information that will result in convictions of others; likewise, Antonini’s emergence from prison should prompt Judge Lioi to ask federal prosecutors, “Who’s next?”

Government corruption does not occur in a vacuum.


Comments

1mike10(84 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Lisa Antonini next job will be with the city of Youngstown. As you recall the Mayor has stated he sees no issue with hiring people with criminal records to work for the city.

Suggest removal:

2Joe6pack(52 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It's time for the investigations to end and charges be filed. We almost had a future felon become the winner of a primary race!

While the investigators continue to hunt for the big fish, we suffer with people in public office that should, at the least, be removed from office, and at worst be in jail.

We need to get this behind us, file the charges and let us move forward with new people in office.

Suggest removal:

3tnmartin(219 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

yes, as noted above, we do "suffer with people in public office that should, at the least, be removed from office, and at worst be in jail."
and continue, time after time, to vote them back into office
endorsed Democrats, you know. "friends of the working man" is how it used to be phrased. "friends of the 'working girls' (hookers)" would have been more correct. I am unaware of any region in the world that has been better for having a one-party polity. Fifty-odd years of watching things in what used to be called the Steel Valley has only confirmed that. In most parts of the country, people who are regularly returned to office here would not be hired to oversee a drive-through car wash. Matter of trust with the money, you see.

Suggest removal:

4georgejeanie(793 comments)posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Keep voting that straight Dumbocratic ticket, u get what u deserve.

Suggest removal:


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes | Pittsburgh International Airport