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.