Yost arrested on theft charges

Property owner accused of taking tenants’ money but not paying the bills
Shawn Foucher
Oct 12, 2013
Accused scheister Joe Yost was in the county jail for a grand total of two hours Friday night.

It was a quick taste of what may lie in store for him, if he’s ultimately convicted of felony theft charges for allegedly bilking his former mobile home park tenants out of thousands of dollars.

An Erie County grand jury recently indicted Yost, 66, on two counts of fifth-degree felony theft. Erie County deputies tightened up the loose ends on the secret indictment Friday afternoon, asking Catawba Island police to arrest Yost at a home in the 4200 block of E. Trail St.

Police said they arrested him without incident and handed him off to deputies in a meet-up at the Bay View fire station. He was promptly booked into the Erie County jail, although within about two hours he secured a bondsman to post $10,000 bond, jail guards said.

Investigators and prosecutors settled on the two low-level felonies because only a few of the former tenants of Hoppers mobile home park could provide financial records to support their allegations against Yost.

Through his company Westgate Development, Yost owns the Hoppers mobile home park property at Venice Road and Tiffin Avenue.

He’s accused of collecting money from Hoppers tenants for water services, but failing to pay the city for those services. The situation festered for years — from about 2008 to 2013 — until this past summer, when city officials moved to shut off the water service.

Yost is about $260,000 delinquent on the water and sewer bills at the Hoppers property, city officials said.

When the city killed the property’s water service, it effectively displaced dozens of people who had lived at the mobile home park for years. Almost all those people have since scattered to the wind.    

Meanwhile, while the tenants were being ousted, Sandusky detectives began investigating Yost for collecting the water money but failing to pay the city. Their findings culminated in the grand jury indictment and Friday’s arrest.

“The victims are the tenants of Hoppers trailer court, who were paying rent and water bills to Mr. Yost,” Sandusky police Detective Dave West said. “Then, Mr. Yost was not paying the water bill at all. But he was taking money from the tenants.”

Many of the former tenants couldn’t provide financial records detailing their payments to Yost. The two theft charges represent just two tenants who could provide documentation showing they paid more than $1,000 to Yost, but less than $7,500. West said the names of the two tenants weren’t immediately available.

“The challenge with the whole thing was (finding) accurate and detailed records,” West said.

Medina County prosecutor Dean Holman was appointed as the special prosecutor in the case. Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter bowed out because of a conflict of interest.

Comments

pavedparadise

Good point.

cracked

Bad enough people have to live in a trailer park then the low life owner steals from the tenants.Hope he has to sell his home in Catawba.Now his membership at the yacht club is in trouble.Bet the boys in jail were impress with his shirt.

Centauri

At times, I will look back at public records that may precede an incident such as reported on this news story.

I have had links to public records online only to find out that the records were removed. It is a good idea to make a copy of a public record to make sure that nobody has went back and tampered with the public record, edited what was written or simply made the record disappear as if the record never existed.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2913.42
2913.42 Tampering with records.
(1) Falsify, destroy, remove, conceal, alter, deface, or mutilate any writing, computer software, data, or record;

I will come back to this story as my time permits and post a link to a public record that is a few years old. Be prepared to make a copy of the public record just in case somebody decides to tamper with it. There is a reason why Ohio has a law against the tampering with records.

starryeyes83

Sad to day, it's renter BEWARE ( whether premises or land ). Tenants should be able to get bank print outs of their cancelled checks, and in the future it would behoove people to check the water department to make sure their landlord (slum or no) is paying.

An ounce of prevention, perhaps? Since you really can't trust people anymore.

Kottage Kat

Starryeyes
I staple my MO receipt to a copy of my rent bill. In April they shut off our water because the landlord I & R Properties did not pay the water bill.
Something is wrong there
I smell a RAT

starryeyes83

Kat, It's a good thing you've got records. Imagine how many people don't keep that stuff. When I paid the water bill where I rented - because that was the agreement - ( I kept it up and kept all bill stubs and receipt). If the landlord pays it and they go into arrears, yes, they should get the law on their tail right away.

You're right, something is fishy with that Property owner. Did you check the auditor's site and see if they are behind on their property taxes?

Angelc

"Yost is about $260,000 delinquent on the water and sewer bills at the Hoppers property, city officials said." Where do they think the money would have come from if he owes for the Trailer Park? The people paid their money and got screwed now he should be charged legally for all of that not just what financial records found. He charged them, they paid, and now they are without a home. Fix him good since he screwed over the people who trusted him for a place to live.

2Timothy1-7

The State had and has the power to subpoena Yost's bank records if they really wanted to prove he took the money from the renters for water and didn't pay the water bill. In other words it would be easy to prove a $250,000 racketeering case if the State were motivated to do so. It's ridiculous that the victims are being asked to build the State's case because of Mr. Yost's friendship with Mr. Baxter.

Darkhorse

Centauri: Do you think anyone cares about laws anymore especially when it comes to shredding?

2Timothy1-7

Mr. Baxter should disclose the nature of the conflict of interest and produce the contract with Mr. Holman approved by the County Commissioners.

It is illegal for Baxter to appoint a special prosecutor and it is illegal to use another county's full time prosecutor. How is Mr. Holman and Medina County being paid for his services? Is he working for Erie County on Medina County time.

How does he have jurisdiction in view of the fact that a county prosecutor only has jurisdiction in his county where he has filed an oath of office and posted bond? Did the Erie County Commissioners approve of the hiring of Mr. Holman as is required by the ORC? What judge approved Dean Holman and di he swear him in and make him post the bond of office?
Is Erie County going to pay Medina County for the use of the county's full time prosecutor?

Finally, the man has been engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity for many years and the best they can come up with are some low level felonies? In my opinion this case should be referred to special prosecutors in the AG's office to eliminate the appearance of impropriety instead of Baxter's associate who is brought in to cover his political favors

tk

When this case first came up, Mr. Baxter said he was calling in a special prosecutor because he knew Mr. Yost. Seems to me that was the ethical thing to do. Sometimes a special prosecutor is brought in. It certainly isn't unheard of. Mr. Baxter has also gone out of this county to serve as a special prosecutor. Just keep up with the news and don't try to make a federal case out of everything.

Julie R.

tk: BULL.

2Timothy1-7

Exactly my point TK. Mr. Baxter called in a special prosecutor of his choice to prosecute his friend Mr. Yost. That's improper for a number of reasons.

First, Mr. Baxter does not have the authority under law to pick or assign a special prosecutor. That power is with the Commissioners of the County NOT the prosecutor. The fact that he usurped power illegally to help out a friend makes this illegal and unethical.

Second, a special prosecutor can not be employed full time by another county as is the case with Mr. Holman because he is committing theft in office by spending his time and Medina County resources on an Erie County case. As an example Perkins PD Chief cannot abandon his duties to fill in as Sandusky Chief. Again, Mr. Baxter is aidding and abetting theft in office and illegal activity by this appointment.

Third, just because this assignment occurred before and Mr. Baxter has also done it doesn't mean it is legal. In fact Mr. Baxter, Mr. Holman and Mr. Bill Mason (former Cuyahoga County prosecutor) all democrats have unlawfully traded off political cases for years. In my opinion it is how they fix cases for their friends or target their enemies. Mr. Yost is clearly undercharged and questions as to how he got away with it for so many years (role of Don Icsman, and Baxter in protecting him) need to be answered.

The appointment of Holman is illegal under Ohio and US law and it is a federal corruption case waiting to happen. It is a text book example of how criminal cases are under investigated and under prosecuted for friends of those in the political ruling class. Add this case to the Sandusky Housing grant scandal (also on Icsman's watch) and it very worthy of federal investigation and prosecution.

The Answer Person

Maybe we need a local "MOST HATED" list? Any suggestions for candidates?

starryeyes83

Good idea, I suggest different categories. Easier to find

queenjhb

Yost enjoyed deceiving everyone , even the city, those with very little income to people wanting new housing . Stand up and be a man, own up to your bad business practices . You are a citizen of a wonderful country, why do you do these things? Yo mama spank you too much as a kid? or what?

Truth2u

Where is the outrage of the City not shutting off the water for FIVE YEARS and allowing a quarter of a MILLION DOLLARS not to be paid?

Again, why no investigation?
The State should be brought in to DIG DEEP into the City and see if they didn't allow this to happen so they can take the property!

I consider the City as being bigger crooks than Yost! Where was iceman during all this, oh that's right, he was hiding in his office, hoping not to be found during Sandusky's Police Chiefs trials.

2Timothy1-7

Don't forget Icsman was missing in action for the Housing Grant scandal as well. The Nuesse case was designed as a distraction so the on going corrupt activity (that she would have exposed) could continue.

This case is a great example of those who are "friends" with government lawyers such as Icsman and Baxter can get away with illegal activity for years. It's part of the the play to pay system that was partially dismantled by the Feds in Cuyahoga County but needs to be addressed in Erie County.

starryeyes83

I bet the IRS would love to audit him.

This started in '08 ? This should have been rectified no later than mid year of '09.

So whose palm was he greasing to look the other way?

Hmm....

worddrow811

does anyone know if this is the Yost who was in the SHS class of '64? This act was deliberate and deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. Then put him in a property with no water and see how he likes it!

Darwin's choice

Was he involved in an accident that someone was killed in back then?

WhatTheHeck

Why doesn't the City of Sandusky charge him? He stole the water by not paying the bill. The bill was in his name, not the individual tenants

Perkins2060

Nice shirt collar.

richrs

Is he still in the county jail? According to what I just heard on the scanner he is. Interesting??

Centauri

http://erie.iviewauditor.com/Dat...
WESTGATE DEVELOPMENT CO LLC

It looks to me like his property valuation increased about 300% in 2006 and stayed the same for 2012. It was a change by the BOR.

$450,000 2004 Sale Price
$107,500 1999 Sale Price

$66,214.13 Delinquency
$197,787.71 Special Assessments
$18,157.99 Penalty/Interest

M13556009 SANDUSKY CITY DELQ SEWER
$106,852.85 Charge
$32,338.17 Penalty/Interest

http://erie.iviewauditor.com/Dat...
WESTGATE DEVELOPMENT CO LLC
$180,000 2005 Sale Price
$26,237.96 Delinquency
$6,948.13 Penalty/Interest
$195.31 Special Assessments

M13556009 SANDUSKY CITY DELQ SEWER
$101.88 Charge
$22.63 Penalty/Interest

LLC like that Island Rocket Ferry that owed about $200,000 in back taxes?

2Timothy1-7

The Island Express Boatlines LLC did owe over $200,000 in back property taxes but never filed for Bankruptcy like Mr. Yost. The LLC major member was Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter who owned about 30% of the business.

The company asked for and obtained numerous government loans and grants and at least one business loan from Citizens Bank. While members are not liable for the LLC debts they are liable if they are asked to guarantee a business loan which Island Express LLC members did with Citizens Bank.

Thus, when the company got into trouble it avoided filing bankruptcy where government agencies would have a priority interest in the assets i.e the boats. Instead using political connections Baxter and associates asked the state, county and city to not pursue or delay their claims so that Citizens Bank would be paid with the sale of the Boats and they would not be personally liable on the bank loan. After there was nothing left, the County treasurer wrote off the $200,000 on advice of a special prosecutor Baxter personally selected.

End result: By using political influence Baxter was able to have Citizens Bank receive a preferential payment on its loan, avoid personal liability for the debt and hose the State of Ohio and Erie County for taxes and the security interest the State had in the Boat obtained by federal grant money.

By the way I understand former members of Island Express LLC now enjoy ownership in a yacht.

Centauri

Thank you for your comments as they speak the truth. I had links to many Ohio public documents but they no longer work. Ohio is a very corrupt state and destroying public documents is par with corrupt Ohio. I have followed this Island Express Ferry company all the way to Florida. One of the owners came back to Ohio and is now running a "Wealth Management" company in Ohio. I have a lot of information on this person but cannot post it here. At one time, I was active getting in touch with the Sandusky Register bloggers who posted comments here. Since the SR upgraded their online site, I do not have the option of contacting you by private message (PM). Thank you for the additional information about that yacht. Keep your comments coming as I do follow them.

I have additional links about that Island Express Ferry but I do not want to post them here. The SR moderators might delete them for being off topic or some other reason. Maybe a future Sandusky Register news story will be more appropriate.

2Timothy1-7

Yes, this individual was named by State officials as "manipulating" grant submission data for the boat grants. He allegedly has an interest in the Yacht along with another former Island Express member initials JF.

Wealth management? Perhaps he helps manage commercial laundries? This Yost case maybe useful in requesting the AG establish a task force with a special prosecutor under 177.01 as there is a pattern. Also understand Mr. Nickles of the PAC seriously objected to Island Express dealings years ago and Icsman didn't care.

Julie R.

Citizens Bank was involved with that shady ferry boat business and received a preferential payment on its loan?

Citizens Bank sure does seem to be involved in a lot of cases in Erie County. Weren't they involved in the Krista Harris case, the lady that got a harsh five-year prison sentence after the clowns at the courthouse (via a special prosecutor and a rent-a-judge) claimed she stole from her elderly aunt even after the aunt's doctor testified that the power of attorney she used was legal ~ prepared years back when the aunt was still competent?

Wasn't it also Citizens Bank that foreclosed on a factory back in 2001 or 2002, was in and out of the factory for years removing things, yet after the factory owner died they filed a lawsuit saying the man's estate should have to pay to have the oil drums removed? Didn't Binette rule in favor of Citizens Bank and their attorney (a McGookey) but the 6th District Court of Appeals (surprise, surprise) didn't agree and told Binette to review the case again?

Wasn't the "$3 Million Dollar Mystery Account" that the former Clerk of Court Barb Johnson got blamed for at CITIZENS BANK ~ the mystery account that the county claimed nobody knew about but Barb Johnson? (I know for a fact that's a lie)

Didn't the Journal report that the employee in the Erie County Treasurer's office ~ the one that only got 2 years for stealing $150K of taxpayer monies and didn't even have to serve that ~ worked at Citizens Bank in Sandusky, Ohio before landing the job with the county?

I also heard about another case recently involving people from Huron. It was a probate case and it involved attorneys, Citizens Bank and a 92-year-old woman before her death. (guess who won?)

I know another bank in Erie County (in Huron, Ohio) ~ main headquarters corrupt Cleveland, Ohio ~ that sure is in the back pocket of somebody up at that corrupt Eeeerie County courthouse, too. Unreal the criminal acts that dirty bank got away with.

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