Remember when Edward A. Flask was on his way to jail for enriching himself while he was a director of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District and then Warren Mayor Henry Angelo urged the judge to be lenient? It didn't matter to Angelo that Flask had betrayed the public trust and had contributed to the Mahoning Valley's reputation as a den of government corruption.
Now Angelo is out of office, but he is still rising to the defense of local criminals, as he did recently when he wrote a letter federal Judge Solomon Oliver asking for "consideraton" on behalf of David Robison, former Warren acting city engineer, who was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to 19 counts of mail fraud and one count each of extortion and racketeering.
"I was brought up that you don't desert your friends," Angelo said.
Unfortunately, the kind of friends Angelo insists on supporing are the scrum of the earth because unlike street criminals they are in positions of power, yet they let greed take control. They deserve no sympathy, let alone support from a prominent officeholder.
Fortunately, Angelo's successor as mayor, Michael O'Brien, understands that the behavior of individuals in the public reflects on the entire community.
"We have to denounce those who violate the public trust," O'Brien told Judge Oliver.
Bravo. The mayor's stance should be the standard for all officeholder to embrace.