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September 12, 2008 - Joe Gorman
During a civil trial over Mahoning County's purchase of the Oak Hill Renaissance Center last summer, prosecutors defending the county unveiled a chart showing contact between the Cafaro family, who were dead set against the purchase because it would mean they would lose a tenant at one of their buildings, and county officials who also opposed it.
This week, one of those opponents, Auditor Michael Sciortino, unveiled his own chart and has it displayed outside the door of the auditor's office showing that taxpayer costs to renovate the former hospital will be over $12 million.
I have no idea why this is coming up again, although opponents of the project should just let it go. The Cafaros did not win a single count in the taxpayer lawsuit they filed against the county last year over the purchase and the public officials -- including Sciortino -- who were mentioned in the chart by Prosecutor Paul Gains were embarassed.
While those on the chart said they were not influenced by the Cafaros, it sure looked like they were when the amount of phone calls, emails and meetings were added up. They should consider themselves lucky that they were linked in such a way and managed to win reelection.
But that is one thing about voters around here. Incumbents win, almost 90 percent of the time, and voters do not pay attention to matters like charts and trials. Just ask Jim Traficant. In fact, it seems a lot of times they do not even care about results -- again, ask Traficant.
So if the people didn't pay attention to The Chart during the trial last year -- which received saturation coverage -- what makes anyone think they will care about the chart now?
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