Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Mahoning County Probate Judge works to clear up hundreds of delinquent filings News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The court which handles guardianships for some of the most vulnerable people and millions of dollars in estates is tightening procedures in Mahoning County.
Judge Robert Rusu has found 16,000 delinquent filings in cases being considered by the Probate Court.

Judge Rusu explained says the delinquent filings involve legal matters that should have been completed on cases, but were not.

The court staff is working to tighten up court operations according to Judge Rusu, who said he is aware of an ongoing investigation of alleged theft by his predecessor, former judge Mark Belinky.

The Information Technology Department was assigned the task of determining which cases had delinquencies.

Attorneys involved in the cases in question failed to fill out paperwork in a timely manner so some cases couldn't be settled.

"These are things that were not caught up; a delinquent account, status report, inventory, report of distribution,” said Judge Rusu. ”I put one employee on this to send letters to all the attorneys giving them four months to bring everything up to date.”

 One thousand cases have been resolved so far, but about six hundred are still outstanding.

“I will be setting the cases for a formal hearing. We are going to haul the attorney's and the fiduciaries in and they are going to have to explain their actions to us, and if they don't then I could remove them," said the Judge.

Judge Rusu says the most serious cases involve inventories which detail assets in an estate and provide an accounting of what has been done with the money.

The problems were inherited from former Probate Judge Mark Belinky who resigned last year after pleading guilty to one count of tampering with records.

Belinky has agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation by the state and FBI.

An affidavit filed by an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation states that Mark Belinky admitted to stealing money from guardianships; people who are either physically or mentally unable to take care of themselves.

Judge Rusu told 21 News that he is aware of the allegations concerning his predecessor. “I am working to restore trust in Mahoning Probate Court. I can assure you that right now the appropriate and best suited individuals to do that investigation are doing that,” said Rusu.

As of this date disgraced former Judge Mark Belinky has not been charged with theft.

A BCI spokesman says, the agency stands by the information in the affidavit and will not comment on an ongoing investigation.

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Mahoning County Probate Judge works to clear up hundreds of delinquent filings


Rachel said...

Who is charged with oversight of the court to be sure it's doing its job?

Anonymous said...

There is no excuse for this. NONE