Yost gets deal

Special prosecutor wants former owner of Hopper's mobile home park to avoid jail time; says tenants good with misdemeanor conviction
Courtney Astolfi
Jul 5, 2014



The Sandusky mobile home park owner who let water bills go unpaid until his tenants were forced from their homes last summer is now a self-admitted thief.

But Joe Yost's upcoming sentencing hearing on Thursday won't likely land him in too hot of water — Yost and special prosecutor Dean Holman struck a deal June 16.

From his original two counts of felony theft, Yost instead pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft.

At Yost's plea hearing, Holman told Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette the city of Sandusky had signed off on the deal, as had Yost's former tenants.

According to Holman, the city was also on board with Yost's financial penalty: just $2,717 in restitution payments.

Additionally, Holman said the state is not recommending jail time. Rather, he's asking that Yost serve his sentence in community-controlled sanctions or on probation.

When Binette asked Yost to formally admit to his crimes — collecting water payments from tenants but failing to hand that money over to the city — Yost did not at first reply with a simple 'yes.'

“I believe so,” Yost said.

When Binette later informed Yost of the rights of his victims to make a statement at the sentencing hearing, it seemed to have taken Yost by surprise— he told the court he was unaware of that provision.

Yost's former tenants were ousted from their Venice Road homes last August, and the remains of the park have since been bulldozed. City officials estimate Yost accrued about $260,000 in unpaid water bills between 2008 and 2013.


the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Another failure of the courts.....

Licorice Schtick

Crime - $XXX,XXX stolen from XX vulnerable victims, resulting in the loss of their homes

Deal - Single count of misdemeanor theft, no jail, $XXXX restitution

Huh? Something's missing from this story.

Judge Binette does not have to approve this deal. Will he be running again?

Julie R.

Of course Binette will run again --- with no opponent, that is. Same with Beverly McGookey and Baxter. They got a good thing going.


"Judge Binette does not have to approve this deal"

Excellent point! Yost's victims need to pack the court room and let Judge Binette know they don't approve of this plea deal. It would not hurt if several would ask about how Holman could cut such a deal and if white privilege is not being shown; pointing out there is a $260,000 tax evasion issue here,(good chance since he didn't pay the bills, he deducted the expenses but kept the money); and, loss to the city.


You've got to be kidding! If I stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from anyone, never in a million years would I get away with it as a misdemeanor theft! You know who's going to be paying for the lost water bills...the other residents of the city and county. Look for your water bills to increase. Every asset this man has should have been seized and sold to pay off his water bill. Holman and the justice system just sold out every honest citizen in this county. That money could have paid for the city to keep station 7 open every day for the next year. UNBELIEVABLE!


Baxter sold the City out as Holman is his proxy prosecutor.

Bottom Line

Getting off the hook with so little punishment you'd think he was an illegal.

Matt, can you further investigate for us?


This criminal deserves to be locked up. Fraud is a SERIOUS crime. He'd face execution if he did this in China. They have a no-nonsense approach to white-collar crime.


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


Who is most responsible for this mess? The city of sandusky. This man did not pay a water bill for an entire trailer park for four years, and the city did not shut the water off


And who is the legal advisor to the City who did not pursue this matter nor the disaster with housing grants?

Julie R.

Don Iscman?


We have a winner!


he's paying his ill-gotten gains to his ATTORNEY. samiam said it best! money talks shyt walks.


Complete and utter B.S.. Well I guess the old saying applies here, those that have get. Those that don't, get the shaft! who did this prosecutor or lack there of find from the old park to agree to this? And the city, why in the hell would they agree to this?


Is anyone really surprised?


This is unbelievable. And, guess who gets to pick up the tab for the running water,the taxpayer. Watch for our water bills to be increase in the near future. The city should be held accoutable for letting the water run for four years without saying anything. It is so easy for the city to write it off and let the taxpayer foot the bill. What is wrong with the court system in Erie county? Anybody else did this, they would be sitting in jail. The court should have ceased some of Yost's assets to pay for what he did. Erie County is wondering where all the lost water is going. What a joke.


Hold on a minute. He collected and did not pay over $50,000 in water bills and his restitution to the city is $2700. 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.


Kind of makes me want to not pay my bills.

But there again, I would be in jail if I didn't.

Ralph J.

"Yost and special prosecutor Dean Holman struck a deal June 16.
From his original two counts of felony theft, Yost instead pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft." What a joke. If I or you took money from people to pay for water but pocketed the money for self gain, we would all go to prison convicted of felonies. The sad part is that poor people were forced from their homes. Poor people have no rights and enforcement of laws to protect these poor people are few and far. Rich people and prominent people get all of the breaks and favors by the courts. Dean Holman?


Ralph J.

The fix was on from the get-go. This was nothing more than a dog and pony show and a waste of money from the taxpayers putting on this show.


Darwin's choice

Smith and Wesson makes a cure for this prick!

What a farce!


What a greasy weasel he is. Pay the whole water bill or go to prison.

The Answer Person

Scum and friends win again.


Erie county justice . Isnt it great. ?


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

Julie R.

Hang in there, people. A few months from now this injustice will be forgotten and Baxter & his cronies at the courthouse will laugh and move on to the next one.

Darwin's choice

You're right!!!!


This is unjust.......

Julie R.

Doesn't surprise me at all that the city of Sandusky would sign off on the deal. After all, the city of Sandusky also went along with sweeping the housing scandal under the proverbial rug. Somebody sure walked out of that one with their pockets full just like Yost is going to walk out of this one.


So basically they are setting a precedence if this deal is approved, that it's OK to not pay your water bill, or if you own maybe an apartment complex, to not pay the water bill, rack up a $260K bill, then keep that cash, and get a smack on the hand and pay $2K instead. GREAT JOB SANDUSKY!


I certainly hope that now he's admitted to his wrongdoings, and that that despite the very unfair sentencing... That thus opens a door to a very big civil suit from the people that had to be removed from their homes. I would say they have a pretty good chance...