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Trumbull County resident seeks to remove county engineer David DeChristofaro from office for misconduct

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lawsuit follows Prosecuting Attorney's criticism of DeChristofaro misspending of public money for political purposes as "prohibited" and "inappropriate"

WARREN, OHIO — Yesterday, Vincent Davila, Sr., a Niles resident, filed a lawsuit against Trumbull County Engineer David DeChristofaro seeking DeChristofaro's removal from office for misconduct. The suit alleges that DeChristofaro used the Engineer's Office as his personal campaign print shop and post office in 2009 and 2010.

In his five-count complaint, Davila describes several reimbursements or "pay-ins" by means of which DeChristofaro and his staff reimbursed Trumbull County for printing supplies and postage used for mailings to DeChristofaro's political supporters. "These documents represented or were related to reimbursements of the County or the County Engineer's fund for sums expended by Defendant DeChristofaro and/or the Committee to Elect David DeChristofaro for Trumbull County Engineer to cover the cost of Christmas cards, postcards, paper, stationery, and envelopes, and/or the cost of postage, printing and ink used by the County Engineer's Office to send letters, thank-you cards, and Christmas cards to precinct committee persons and political supporters," Davila said in the complaint.

The documents aroused the suspicion first of Trumbull County Auditor Adrian Biviano and, ultimately, the Trumbull County Prosecuting Attorney, according to Davila. The complaint quotes the Prosecuting Attorney's finding that "this office deems it inappropriate for an office holder to use at any time county equipment, personnel, and/or any of its resources for political purposes which appears to be the case with regard to the enclosures herein."

Davila's lawsuit is founded on a little-known Ohio statute, R.C. 315.06, that provides that "[a]ny person may bring a civil action in the court of common pleas against the county engineer, alleging such engineer's incapacity, misconduct in office, or neglect of duty. . . Such cause shall have precedence over other business, and, if upon trial thereof, the court finds an engineer guilty of any of the charges, by the judgment of the court he shall be removed from office."

"David DeChristofaro is apparently unwilling to accept that taxpayer property and labor should not be used as his personal campaign treasury to finance his political ambitions," said Subodh Chandra, Davila's Cleveland-based attorney.

Mr. Davila, an electrician and veteran, filed the lawsuit because he was outraged by news reports of Engineer DeChristofaro's misconduct in office and abuse of taxpayer resources. "I didn't serve my country so two-bit politicians like DeChristofaro could rip-off the public," Davila said. "As a Democrat," Davila added, "I am appalled that no leaders in the Trumbull County Democratic Party have called for DeChristofaro to resign from office. Nor have the media. Is everyone asleep?"

Related Practice Areas
Constitutional lawGovernment ethics, misconduct, fraud, & abusePublic corruption
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