Published August 6, 2006
The decision by prosecutors to shut down the investigation of the purchasing scandal in Trumbull County government without any officeholders being nabbed prompts this response: "So what else is new?" It's the way things have been in the Mahoning Valley for decades.
But someone out there knows why only Tony Delmont, the county's maintenance director who bought cleaning supplies from various salesmen, is the lone high-ranking county official serving time behind bars. Indeed, Delmont has claimed under oath that kickbacks from suppliers went all the way to the top. Read that, the commissioners' office and even Sheriff Thomas Altiere. The kickbacks took the form of tickets to fund-raisers and the like. But Delmont's claims were ultimately dismissed by just everyone involved in the investigation.
Why? A cyncial explanation would be that these officeholders had a guardian angel who was watching over them.
When Joseph Angelo lost his re-election bid for commissioner in 2004, he won a pass on being implicated in the scandal. And when James Tsagaris made his surprise announcement that he would not be seeking re-election this year, he, too, won a reprieve. Bottom line, neither will be paying any price for this incident of government corruption.
They and others either were involved, or Delmont is truly one of the great criminal masterminds of the Mahoning Valley. And if you believe that, you also believe that ex-Congressman James A. Traficant Jr. was genuinely worried about the health of his employees when he forced them to work on his farm and to clean his houseboat in Washington, D.C.
Someone out there knows why only Delmont is paying the price. It's time for the individual to come forward and tell all. It's the only way corruption in the Mahoning Valley will be eliminated.