UPDATE: 03/03/2010 AT 6:00 PM
Earlier today, the SCPR received an e-mail from Brad Iams who is legal counsel for Vincent Frustaci.
The e-mail is reproduced in-full below.
The part of the e-mail that The Report wants to address specifically is Attorney Iams statement that the SCPR has a SCPR source specifically alleging that Vincent Frustaci "is 'cooperating' with federal investigators with regard to some type of gambling investigation."
The blog in question has SCPR's source alleging that Mr. Frustaci "is cooperating in what appears to be a larger investigation ... that may go well beyond the original alleged offense."
The Report does not believe that the blog language cited above is presented as having the SCPR's source making a specific gambling investigation allegation.
However, the SCPR thanks Attorney Iams for writing to The Report and providing SCPR readers with a direct statement, from one who obviously has knowledge of the situation, of what is not a part of the investigation, to the degree an investigation exists.
Attorney Iams and any other person who has an interest in a SCPR posting and who identifies him/herself is more than welcome to submit responses, comments and observations on blog content. The Report will provide space as has been done in this instance.
Here is the entire Iams e-mail.
It was April 1, 2009 (and it was not an April fools joke) when news broke that Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler fired his chief deputy Vince Frustaci making allegations that Frustaci had stolen from the county treasury.
It is now eleven months later and there has not been any law enforcement action taken that has made it to the public record.
However, the SCPR has learned that Frustaci has either made or is close to making a deal with investigating federal police officials. Moreover, The Report has a source saying that Frustaci is cooperating with investigators in what appears to be a larger investigation involving other Stark Countians that may go well beyond the original alleged offense.
If true, what could the "well-beyond" be?
The SCPR's attention is being pointed to what another source identifies as a well-known large illegal gambling phenomenon that likely constitutes Stark's biggest crime problem. Bigger even than illegal drug usage and trafficking! Moreover, The Report is told that the extent of the problem is only part of the story. Perhaps the more important part is that the alleged illegal gambling may involve some leading Stark County citizens who have public responsibilities.
A number of sources have told The Report that the reason Frustaci - if Zeigler's accusation of theft proves true - took county money may have been to cover gambling debts in area high stakes poker games. Obviously, if the speculation is correct, Frustaci is likely being pressed by federal law enforcement to assist them, as a part of any plea bargain considerations, to share what he knows, if anything, about Stark County illegal gambling.
So, it could turn out that "added - law enforcement - value" to the citizens of Stark County may come out of the alleged theft problem which started in the Stark County treasurer's office.
If it does, then Stark Countians will want to know the following:
How is it that it took federal authorities to identify the problem and to deal with it?
If the illegal gambling activity is as large as being suggested to The Report; how is it that the Stark County's sheriff failed to get a handle on the problem first?
Moreover, how is it that Stark County's only countywide newspaper (The Rep) has not had its ear to the ground and pushed local law enforcement to look into what officials at The Repository have had to been hearing? Would anyone believe that the "powers-that-be" at The Rep have not been privy to what is being told to The Report?
If so, then The Repository is truly out-of-touch with what is going on Stark County!