WATCH: Yost gets 90 days

Victims make statements at sentencing hearing; former mobile home park operator off to jail
Courtney Astolfi
Jul 9, 2014

astolfi@sanduskyregister.com

Click on video screen below

UPDATE 4 p.m. : Joe Yost will spend the next 90 days in jail.

Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette this afternoon sentenced Yost to 180 days in jail, the maximum allowed by law, but suspended half of that sentence. He also ordered Yost to 500 hours of community service, to be carried out within two years following his release from jail. The time is to be split between two organizations: 250 hours in an area homeless shelter and 250 hours in an area food kitchen.

In addition, Yost will be required to secure full-time employment after his release from jail, but if he is not employed, he must prove to the court that he's submitting at least 14 applications per week.

Further, Yost was ordered to pay the $2,717.17 in restitution originally established in the plea deal earlier this year, plus court costs and a $1,000 penalty, the maximum permitted by law.

Check back later for more updates.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Joe Yost is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The Register will livestream the sentencing hearing from the Erie County Courthouse.

The Hoppers mobile home park owner whose actions forced numerous low-income residents from their homes last year pleaded guilty to just one misdemeanor charge in June—and will be sentenced on that charge Thursday.

A special prosecutor has recommended Joe Yost pay just $2,717 in restitution and not be sentenced to jail time, only community-controlled sanctions.

But multiple former tenants are outraged by the plea and some told the Register they weren't consulted prior to the deal.

The city, citing $260,000 in unpaid water bills, shut off water access to the Venice Road park in August, ousting all those who lived there.

Yost was subsequently indicted for felony theft because he allegedly collected water payments from those residents but never turned those payments over to the city.

Sandusky police detectives were tasked with figuring out just how much money was stolen. They could only account for $2,700 in stolen funds—mostly, detectives said, because residents didn't keep crystal-clear records of the amounts they paid Yost.

During court proceedings earlier this year, Medina County prosecutor Dean Holman, who was assigned as a special prosecutor to Yost's case, named the city of Sandusky as a victim.

But Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette told Holman to give the real victims— the ones from whom Yost stole water payments—a chance to weigh in on Yost's fate.

On June 16, Holman and Yost struck a deal: rather than the two felony theft charges Yost was indicted on, he instead pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft. During that hearing, Holman told Binette the city approved of the deal as long as the tenants did—and Holman said the tenants indeed raised no objections to the plea.

However, it appears the prosecution only considered the input of six former Hoppers tenants “because those were the ones who had receipts to prove that they paid water (bills),” Holman told the Register Tuesday.

“None of them objected (to the plea). None of them indicated they had a problem,” Holman said.

Holman refused to name which Hoppers residents he spoke with.

“I'm not going to say what tenants they were,” Holman said.

Multiple tenants, however, told the Register they were not contacted by the prosecutor's office. Those same tenants also said they brought receipts and records to Sandusky police when detectives were investigating the thefts late last year.

“I think it's B.S. I do think he should spend time in jail for this,” said nine-year Hoppers resident Bonita Scroggy.

“We paid him and then we lost our homes. We should get some kind of closure. They never called me before the plea— I didn't get a call until after. I am going to be at the sentencing hearing and I will speak and tell them I do not think its fair,” Scroggy said.

Another resident, Brenda Hosko, shared Scroggy's concerns.

“I showed my records where I paid it and I wasn't even subpoenaed to go to court, only five people were. They only reached out to some,” Hosko said.

“I don't think it's right and I don't think it's fair. I paid for mine, and I got screwed. (Yost) forced people out of homes they lived in all their life." 

Brian and Heather Tucker, meanwhile, expressed their frustration with Holman in particular.

“This Dean Holman, he's a joke,” Brian said.

“I think Holman's come down from Medina and just wants to hurry up and get this case out of the way,” Heather said.

“He didn't have no kind of compassion or decency. He was rude, didn't want to hear what I had to say and told me I wasn't the victim, the city was,” Heather said.

The couple went so far as to write a letter to the court, expressing their frustration. Heather said a victim's advocate told her Holman didn't want to deal with her “because she's feisty,” Heather said.

“The advocate said 'She's not feisty, she's mad.' We're mad because we got kicked out on the street and are out all this money,” Heather said.

Yet another tenant, Lisa Spears, weighed in.

“I think he should have more punishment. I know a lot of people want to see him be punished more,” Spears said.

Two other residents—Olivia Scisinger and Tina Hall—attended Yost's plea hearing last month.

Scisinger said she has mixed feelings about the deal.

“I'm happy but I'm not happy with it. Like I'd like to see him go to jail, but I don't think him going to jail is going to learn him a lesson,” Scisinger said.

“He threw us all on the streets and our kids out on the streets—I wanted him to sit behind bars for years, but it's going to be us paying for him to sit in jail with our tax money all over again,” Scisinger said.

“He should have to do community service, I think he'll finally learn a lesson,” Scisinger said.

Hall had a similar view.

“I wish he would've gotten more, but you've got to get what you can. I hope he gets real heavy on the community service, I think the taxpayers have paid enough to the man. At least it'll be done and over with and I can get my life going back again,” Hall said.

Yost's sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday in Binette's courtroom.

Watch in the player below or live at sanduskyregister.com

 

Comments

Little Giant

Why is it that if a landlord shuts off the utilities they can go to jail yet Yost effectively did this to the whole trailer park and nothing happens? There were not individual meters so that responsibility fell on his shoulders and he failed. I think new charges should be drawn up because the punishment clearly does not match the crime.

overthis099

I totally agree! He put all these people out on the streets how can he just walk away? I would think the city would be mad unless they have been told to keep their mouth shut. Why aren't the city commissioners looking into this? Is Joe Yost maybe related to a city commissioner? Hmmmm

Truth or Dare

Now this doesn't surprise me at all! They don't call us little brother to Cuyahoga County for nothing. The pro quo/back scratching within the city, county and the court is crystal clear and has been. I smell yet another lawsuit, maybe a class action lawsuit on the horizon w/lawyers that aren't local. There should be.

nightroller's picture
nightroller

Anyone else who did this would of went to jail and still would of had to pay back the $260,000 plus court costs. But no, this clown gets to walk free and screw more people out of money while living high off the hog. Something ain't right here, he must have friends in high places. Hang the fluffer now while you have the chance.

Babo

There are so many problems with this case, it's hard to know where to begin. Here's a few:

1) It appears that Dean Holman an officer of the court LIED to the court about the tenants approval of the deal. That's contempt of court and Holman needs to be charged by the Court with contempt; removed ASAP as special prosecutor; and reported to the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court by Judge Binette consistent with his duties under the law to ensure integrity in the administration of justice. Holman clearly has no integrity and based on statements in this article he has undermined/obstructed justice in a criminal case.

2) Holman was never lawfully appointed as special prosecutor in this case but "assigned" by Baxter who has no authority to hire a special prosecutor to create an appearance of impartiality when he appears biased and acting for Baxter. Again this is alleged obstruction of justice and indicates IMO a conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity by undermining the criminal prosecution of Yost.

Holman is employed full time by Medina County and he took an oath in that county to serve the people of Medina county. He took no oath in this county and has no jurisdiction in Erie County nor is there any contract with him to serve as special prosecutor executed by the County Commissioners who have the legal authority to hire a special prosecutor to represent the county in criminal cases. He is IMO committing theft in office from Medina County by working in Erie County while being paid by Medina County.

3) The SPD probably tried their best but this is a classic white collar money laundering and fraud case and they do not have the skill set to handle these types of large financial crimes. The case required the expertise of forensic accountants and law enforcement agencies such as the criminal division of the IRS to subpoena personal and bank records to track the cash and demonstrate that he was using the cash to pay personal expenses to sustain a lifestyle beyond his means. One doesn't need receipts for cash to make the case but the statements of the tenants combined with evidence of how he maintains a high lifestyle to demonstrate the criminal tax evasion and fraud.

Judge Binette has a hot potato on his hands. He should do the right thing by removing Holman from the case; vacate the plea agreement as procured by fraud on the court; and stay the case pending the appointment of a special prosecutor from the AG's office. That office can then bring a superseding Indictment reflecting the true nature of Yost's crimes.

MrSandusky

Babo is spot on, but it will never happen. Life will go on, Yost will be a free man with a minimal fine, Holman will continue to create havoc across northern Ohio, and the voters will keep voting for Binette and Baxter. There are a very few in this area that get what is going on, a very few that see what is happening. The others see it all as someone else's problem and let it continue.

Julie R.

You're spot on with your comment, too, with the exception of "the voters will keep voting for Binette and Baxter." As I'm sure you already know, nobody ever runs against them. Same with Beverly McGookey.

Commenter

Babo-You should start writing articles for the Register. You're very well spoken!

Julie R.

Agree.

DickTracey

Commenter, it is true that the Register does hire convicted felons, but I'm pretty sure they would not touch this one with a ten foot pole.

Kelly

lol That's exactly what I was thinking. I doubt anyone would hire her.

Babo

Thank you.

ladydye_5

So the tenants didn't keep records of how much the water bill was? How much did HE owe the city??? DUH? That makes no sense that they are laying this at the tenants feet of what was owed? Where are HIS records of what he was billing the tenants? It goes both ways. Sounds like his bookkeeping was no better. And everything thinks I am crazy for how much paperwork I keep. I have boxes of ALL of my old bills. Old statements and old receipts. I may horde but it is all financial paperwork. This is the exact reason why.

Babo

Agreed. All SPD had to do was obtain his business records for the park. If they reflect the tenants paid him and he didn't pay the water bill that's enough to indict him for all the thefts. The tenants don't need receipts as he has to keep business records per IRS regulations for the business. And if he falsified the records well that's another charge.

Also this case is a great example of the failure of the US Attorney's office for ND Ohio to effectively protect the people and government subdivisions in small counties against alleged public corruption involving county officials such as Holman and Baxter and their politically connected friends. There's a minimum $260,000 theft from Sandusky, the thefts from the residents, as well as income tax evasion yet the Feds are nowhere to be found due probably to friendships with the officials involved. It's why I am not surprised by the statement by the US Attorney's office in the Burdine case seeking IMO to discourage complaints to Washington about area public officials.

worddrow811

fyi, lady dye, I think the statute for keeping old records is 7 years worth. I used to keep them longer, too, but with the computer era, I started throwing them out as everything is on a computer somewhere.

ladydye_5

Computers crash and banks make you pay by the page. I'll keep them in the basement. And when you are questioning the bank...I do not trust them.

8ballinthesidepocket

Not at the IRS, their computers all crashed at the same time as did those who received their emails. Keep the paper copy!

deertracker

If they know how much is owed the rest can be figured out. He's claiming the tenants never paid him. Liar!

JT Adams St

It's curious that the purported "prosecutor" is willing to give credence to Yost's statements, in spite of the fact that he's an admitted criminal, yet is unwilling to give credence to the statements of the victims, who lost their homes, and did nothing wrong. Fortunately, unlike Holman, Judge Binette has to face Erie County voters. Hopefully, he will not sign off on this deal.

Babo

Judge Binette already accepted the guilty plea on June 16, 2014 based on what appear to be false representations of Holman concerning the tenants agreement.

On Thursday, Judge Binette has two options: 1) to move forward with sentencing on the plea of guilty to the misdemeanor; or 2) vacating the plea deal after hearing from tenants that Holman made material false representations concerning their views to the court to induce the court to accept the plea deal (fraud) and removing Holman as special prosecutor based on that alleged misconduct.

JT Adams St

Can he give Yost jail time on the misdemeanor?

Babo

Yes, a maximum of 180 days.

twosenseworth

The City of Sandusky surely knows how much water was dispensed for the trailer park, and they also should know how much money was paid for the water in return. They know how much water I use per month, and they also know how much I owe for the water used. I cannot believe that the City of Sandusky is willing to forgive Yost for allegedly pocketing the money rather than paying the water bill. When I come in with my water bill in hand, they expect full payment.

Commenter

EXACTLY - They know how much he owed. Does it matter how much they can account that tenants paid him? HE was responsible for the water bill.
HE SHOULD Have kept records of WHAT his tenants OWE and who paid and who did not.
What a freaking JOKE. If I miss a water bill, I get a late notice, if I don't pay after that, my water is shut off. What does the water dept. say about that??? WHY did they let it go on?
Is someone really willing to let this man go with a smack on the wrist.
Dang I wish I owned rentals in Sandusky. I could pay $2700 for a $260K loan! What a deal!!!!!!!

worddrow811

this is an example of how lawyers influence sentences by their choice of who gets to testify and what select questions are asked. does anyone remember that one witness was arrested for stealing from a veteran at the OVH? Yost will get his, too! Karma never fails.

Julie R.

Why don't the tenants get a class-action lawsuit against Yost and another against the city of Sandusky?

worddrow811

maybe because they don't know whom to trust for a lawyer.

8ballinthesidepocket

Who is going to pay for that?

LevelHeaded

A civil suit needs to be started by the tenants misplaced from heir homes. Never let this man have enough money to pay his OWN water bill again... Put his butt on the streets....

Ralph J.

"pleaded guilty to just one misdemeanor charge in June" Why only one count? There were multiple people and events.
"A special prosecutor has recommended Joe Yost pay just $2,717 in restitution" Restitution to the city or to the victims of this con artist?
"Sandusky police detectives were tasked with figuring out just how much money was stolen. They could only account for $2,700 in stolen funds—mostly, detectives said, because residents didn't keep crystal-clear records of the amounts they paid Yost"
What about the $260,000 for not paid water? Wouldn't that be the same as stolen? Not paid for then it is stolen.
"During court proceedings earlier this year, Medina County prosecutor Dean Holman, who was assigned as a special prosecutor to Yost's case, named the city of Sandusky as a victim." VICTIM? Sandusky is the victim of this scam? More like Sandusky was AIDING AND ABETTING Yost for $260,000.
"Holman refused to name which Hoppers residents he spoke with." REFUSE? WHY? Maybe the Hoppers residents were fictitious, a figment of Holman's imagination. Holman must think that we are a bunch of dummies.
"“I'm not going to say what tenants they were,” Holman said." WHY NOT?

http://medinacorruption.blogspot...

http://medinacountyprosecutor.co...

FEDERAL INVESTIGATION NOW! Yost didn't do this all on his own. He had help. How does anybody not pay taxes and gets free water for years and not pay a $260,000 water bill? I smell a conspiracy! FEDERAL INVESTIGATION NOW! RICO!

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