Ex-road department worker sues Poland Township trustees
By Justin Wier
A former Poland Township Road Department employee claims he was the target of defamation, malicious prosecution and wrongful termination.
Raymond Beatty claims the township continued to pursue charges against him for the alleged theft of “road grindings” after the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office said his conduct did not rise to the level of a criminal offense, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Last August, township Trustee Eric Ungaro reported an anonymous tip to police that accused Beatty of taking “an unknown amount of road grindings” from the road department building to his home, according to a police report.
Road grindings result from the paving process, and they can be used as a substitute for gravel.
Poland Township police eventually charged Beatty with a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty and prosecutors later dismissed the case.
Despite that, Beatty lost his job. The township trustees fired him at an October meeting after a township investigation found him “guilty of misconduct in the form of malfeasance,” according to a motion the trustees approved at the meeting.
The charge against Beatty was dismissed by prosecutors two months later in December.
The lawsuit names Ungaro, Township Trustee Joanne Wollet, former Trustee Robert Lidle and the Poland Township Police Department as defendants.
Ungaro said the township has turned the case over to its insurance counsel, who will represent the township.
He declined to comment further while the matter remains under litigation.
Beatty is the son of Poland Village police Chief Russell Beatty.
His lawsuit demands more than $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages along with his reinstatement to his former position with the township road department.