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Hoppers owner may still face charges

Courtney Astolfi • Sep 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

In the theft case, Joe Yost allegedly collected money from tenants for water services, but he never paid the city for the services.

Citing a conflict of interest because he knows Yost, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter has passed the case on to Medina County prosecutor Dean Holman to serve as special prosecutor.   

While it’s been more than a month since Sandusky detectives wrapped up their investigation and forwarded the case to prosecutors, Holman said he is still in the process of reviewing Yost’s file.    “I’ll be meeting with detectives shortly to discuss the case,” Holman said. “Beyond that, I have no comment.”    Baxter referred the case to Holman in August.    “I’ve known Joe Yost for years,” Baxter said. “I felt it was more appropriate for an outside prosecutor to review this.”  

In the meantime, Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci has given Yost until Monday to rectify multiple fire code violations on the property. “What we’re after now is getting rid of combustible materials and maintaining access to the park,” Ricci said. “There are also unsecured structures still in the park.”   

If Yost cleans up the property by Monday, or if he comes to fire officials with a plan of action, fire code citations aren’t likely to be filed. “What we’re after is compliance,” Ricci said. “If the site isn’t cleaned up, we’ll meet with the law director and file an action.”   

If Yost doesn’t comply, the fire department plans to issue the appropriate citations and obtain a release through the courts, which would allow them to clean the property. “It’s a timely process, but it’s a due process,” Ricci said. “We have to make sure we follow the rules here.”

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