Published April 19, 2007
Mahoning County commissioners Anth0ny Traficanti and David Ludt and three members of the building commission overseeing the relocation of Job and Family Services agency say there is information they believe would shed light on why the move is being opposed by some.
Traficanti, Ludt and building commission members Atty. David Comstock, John Logue and Joseph Sylvester have signed a letter calling upon Commissioner John A. McNally, Auditor Michael V. Sciortino, Treasurer Lisa Antonini, who also is chairwoman of the county Democratic Party, and former Treasurer John B. Reardon to release copies of communications between themselves and the Cafaro Co. or its lawyers.
Company executives are Anthony Cafaro, president, and John J. Cafaro.
A subsidiary of Cafaro Co., Ohio Valley Mall Co., owns the Garland Plaza where the Job and Family Services offices are located. Commissioners Traficanti and Ludt have decided to move the agency from the East Side location to Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center, which the county owns.
The Cafaro brothers have launched a public campaign against the relocation, including filing lawsuits. In response, Traficanti and Ludt contend that the owners of the Garland Plaza don't want to lose the almost $500,000 in rent the county pays them.
Given the Cafaros long involvement in Mahoning Valley politics, any communications involving them and government officials pertaining to the JFS is of public interest.
It should not take a court order to prompt the release of the information. McNally, Sciortino, Antonini and Reardon, who is now working for the state, have a responsibility to the taxpayers to immediately permit the release of the pertinent communications.
Not to do so would be confirm the suspicion of many that the days of smoked-filled-room politics aren't really over.