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Yost deal surprises many

Register • Jul 6, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Reaction to a plea bargain on theft charges for the former owner of a west-side Sandusky mobile home park was swift Saturday after the Register reported the deal will likely keep Joe Yost out of a jail cell.

Yost collected water payments from tenants at the former Hopper's mobile home park at Tiffin Avenue and Venice Road, but did not use those funds to pay the city for the water bill. He was indicted on two felony theft counts. The deal struck June 16 between Yost and special prosecutor Dean Holman had Yost plead guilty to one misdemeanor count and agree to pay $2,717 in restitution. 

City records show Yost has more than $260,000 in unpaid water bills and hundreds of thousands in other debt from failed development projects and unpaid taxes.

Tenants at the mobile home park were forced to move from it last year after the city shut off the water because the bill wasn't paid, but they're good with the agreement between Holman and Yost for Yost to avoid jail time, Holman said.

Yost is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. 

The plea deal was agreed to during a hearing last month in Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binnette's courtroom.

"Judge Binette does not have to approve this deal," one reader commented at sanduskyregister.com. 

Other readers raised similar concerns about the agreement. 

"Well I guess the old saying applies here: Those that have get. Those that don't, get the shaft," another reader commented. "Who did this prosecutor ... find from the old park to agree to this? And the city, why (would) the (city) agree to this?"

Another reader reviewed the math. 

"Hold on a minute," he wrote. (Yost) collected and did not pay over $50,000 in water bills and his restitution to the city is $2,700. I sure hope there is more to this story such as a lien on the property for the remaining money. Those are our tax dollars the city is signing off on."

Another reader said the proposed penalty for Yost did not seem equal to the fallout that occurred.

"The city is out thousands of dollars for unpaid water bills. Numerous people lost their homes and he gets a slap on the wrist?" the reader asked. 

Another reader said it didn't make sense. 

"Hard to believe the city would agree to such a meager restitution when the water bill was in the tens of thousands of dollars," the commenter wrote.

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