Boardman contractor withdraws guilty pleas in Columbiana Court

LISBON — A Boardman area contractor accused of taking money from three clients and failing to do the work in Columbiana County was recently granted permission to withdraw his previous guilty pleas to three counts of theft.

John P. Bartos, 41, Youngstown, had entered guilty pleas to three separate indictments for theft in the fall, with sentencing set for Jan. 4, but the sentencing was delayed, and then the motion for withdrawal of plea was filed in each case.

As a result, the cases are reset for trial at 8:30 a.m. April 29, with a final status hearing at 1 p.m. April 19 in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court before Judge Scott Washam.

Washam granted the motion for withdrawal of plea in all three cases, noting that “according to the Ohio Supreme Court, a presentence motion to withdraw plea shall be freely and liberally granted.”

The prosecution opposed the motion for withdrawal of plea, saying there was no legitimate reason for it.

The state was represented by county Assistant Prosecutor Christoper Weeda, with Frank Cassese listed as Bartos’s defense counsel.

Bartos was accused of depriving Cara and Glenn Dilworth of $3,500 from June 29, 2022 to Jan. 11, 2023, James and Lyndsey Walker of $2,500 from July 25, 2022 to Jan. 9, 2023 and Kimberly Salmen of $2,500 from Feb. 22, 2022 to March 15, 2023.

He’s now claiming innocence, according to his attorney.

In the motion for withdrawal of plea, Cassese wrote that the facts and circumstances surrounding the cases were based on business contracts between three former clients who hired the defendant’s business, Gridiron Windows and Doors to install windows and doors at their homes.

“It is defendant’s position that these counts are civil in nature. Defendant never purposely deprived any client of any property or services nor was he ever deceitful. In all these instances, he maintained a line of communication with the clients,” Cassese wrote.

“Defendant may have mismanaged the business, and had numerous unsatisfied customers, but he maintains he did not steal their money. Although in some cases it was untimely, he always intended to do the work,” he wrote.

Bartos was recently sentenced to four years of probation and 100 hours of community service on similar charges in Mahoning County. Last week, Cassese, said Bartos had paid $103,000 to repay all of the customers he owed money to — 25 victims in Mahoning County — and made changes to his life and business to avoid having such issues again.


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