Former Mahoning County assistant prosecutor appeals firing


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

A former Mahoning County assistant prosecutor fired last month has appealed his dismissal to the state Personnel Board of Review.

Attorneys Subodh Chandra and Sandhya Gupta of Cleveland filed the complaint Thursday on behalf of Martin Desmond, whom county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains fired April 6.

The complaint said Desmond was fired because he reported misconduct in the prosecutor’s office.

Gains had no comment on the appeal.

Gains placed Desmond on paid administrative leave March 23 before he was fired. Gains said in a news conference announcing the firing he could no longer trust Desmond to act in the county’s best interests.

Desmond violated office policy by discussing a matter he no longer was handling with people outside the office, including a lawyer, who sued the county in federal court, Gains said at the time.

That lawyer, James Wise, sued the county on behalf of a witness who declined to testify in a murder case, which was later dismissed.

The complaint says Desmond had revealed to Gains on Jan. 27 he was aware of misconduct within the prosecutor’s office, conduct that violated state or federal laws and was a criminal offense.

Desmond was fired because of what he told Gains, the complaint said. The complaint called the firing “retaliatory and unlawful.”

Desmond declined to comment.

Chandra said in a statement: “While Martin Desmond has worked tirelessly to protect the people of Mahoning County, Prosecutor Gains’ retaliatory and unlawful actions disserve the community, as does his besmirching of Mr. Desmond’s good name. The State Personnel Board of Review appeal is a step to ensure that truth and justice prevail. Much more will be revealed in this process.”

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