Special counsel did not talk to Young family

SANDUSKY Sandusky's special counsel who reviewed the circumstances surrounding the death of Mufaro "Teddy" Young concluded hi
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Sandusky's special counsel who reviewed the circumstances surrounding the death of Mufaro "Teddy" Young concluded his brief probe without talking to Young's family.

Cleveland attorney William P. Lang, a man with a past including disbarment, obtained "only one side of the story," contends Mufaro Young's father, William Young Jr.

Lang was asked to review the situation by Sandusky Law Director Don Icsman after Young complained to the fire department and asked the Sandusky Police Department to investigate the ambulance crew's performance.

"He asked me to review the records and determine whether there might be any criminal wrongdoing," Lang said, explaining that per Icsman's request, he reviewed the fire department's records and did what was asked of him.

Young contends that when two neighbors have a dispute, everyone understands it's necessary to talk to them both before deciding who is right. Therefore, he said, Lang carried out a "fake investigation."

Lang's one-page report found there was no criminal conduct by any member of the Sandusky Fire Department and no further investigation was necessary.

"It is my opinion that the personnel of the Sandusky Fire Department acted according to protocol and did not perform their duties in a sub-standard manner," a part of the report stated. "There was clearly no criminal conduct by any member of the Sandusky Fire Department. No investigation is warranted."

Police Chief Kim Nuesse responded to Lang's report June 14 by sending a letter to the Young family stating there would be no further investigation and that she wishes the family the best during this difficult time. She added that Young's actions during the incident were threatening toward fire personnel and that he could potentially be criminally charged for his actions.

Lang said it was also his opinion that the city would prevail should the Young family sue. Public municipalities have more protection from lawsuits than private organizations and Lang said the Young family would have to prove the ambulance crew was "reckless" for a civil suit to go forward.

Icsman said he did not know what Lang's fee would be for the report, but said it won't be much. Lang performed the work while earning $80 an hour for a variety of legal tasks, including the Young matter, Icsman said.

Lang has worked for the Sandusky for many years as a private attorney doing contract legal work, mostly for cases handled by the city's insurance carrier.

Last year, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended Lang's law license for a year, but stayed the final six months of the suspension on the condition of no further misconduct. Lang met the court's conditions and was reinstated.

The court found Lang lost a lawsuit because he ignored the case for two years, declared bankruptcy to prevent his former client, Jerry Stearnes, from collecting money in a malpractice lawsuit against him, and did not cooperate with the bar association's investigation of the matter.

The court noted Lang suffered from depression and had no previous disciplinary matters in a long legal career. Lang said he was depressed because of his parents' health problems and his son's drug addiction. The problems happened from 2000-02, he said.

"I'm fine now," he said.

Icsman said Lang had personal issues that don't reflect on his ability as a lawyer.

"I don't consider it to be a reflection on the quality of the legal work that he does and has continued to do," Icsman said.

Young said he has been talking to attorneys about suing the city. Attorney Robert Zelvy is one of those with whom he has spoken.

"I do not represent him at this point," Zelvy said. "I have not decided whether to get involved or not."