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« Stirfry

Judicial showdown in the offing?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published July 15, 2007

What if U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kay Woods orders Mahoning County government to pay the $75,000 the county owes for Oakhill Renaissance Place?

County officials, including the auditor, commissioners and prosecutor, have been slapped with a restraining order by Visiting Judge Richard M. Marcus that prohibits them from paying the $75,000.

The payment was demanded by Andrew W. Suhar, a bankruptcy trustee, who represents the Oakhill's former owner, Southside Community Development Corp.

Judge Markus is presiding over a lawsuit filed by a subsidiary of the Cafaro Co., which has waged an all-out war against those in county government who have pushed for the relocation of the Jobs and Family Service agency from the McGuffey Mall, owned by the Cafaros, to Oakhill.

The trial is expected to begin July 23.

The power play by one of the most politically influential and richest families in the Mahoning Valley demands more than Judge Markus' opinion with regard to the $75,000 payment.

An order from bankruptcy Judge Woods for the payment would trigger a judicial showdown that is necessary because the duly elected representatives of the residents of Mahoning County the commissioners, who control the public treasury are being prevented from performing their duties.


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