Saturday, October 09, 1999

3 admit guilt in corruption, tax case




BY EARNEST WINSTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Three men pleaded guilty Fridayin U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to public corruption and tax offenses in a scheme to profit from one man's position as head of an air regulatory agency in Steubenville.

        Patsy J. DeLuca, 65, of Steubenville, pleaded guilty to accepting $169,750 in gratuities between 1994 and 1996 while he was executive director of the North Ohio Valley Air Authority (NOVAA), a multicounty air quality regulatory agency.

        Mr. DeLuca accepted the money from Steubenville resident Robert S. Vukelic for telling Mr. Vukelic about pending Ohio Environmental Protection Agency permits for him to operate Pine Hollow C&D Landfill near Steubenville.

        Ronald DeLuca, 36, of Athens, and Patsy DeLuca's son, and Vincent R. Zumpano, 65, of Mingo Junction, Ohio, also an employee of NOVAA, each pleaded guilty Friday to helping Patsy DeLuca receive the money.

        All three, who were released on their own recognizance, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to deceive the Internal Revenue Service. Each man has agreed to file correct tax returns and to cooperate with the IRS. They entered their pleas before Judge San dra S. Beckwith.

        Each man faces a maximum penalty of:

        • Seven years in prison.

        • $500,000 in fines.

        • One year of supervised release.

        • Mandatory $200 assessments.

        NOVAA, which shut down Sept. 30, 1997, received federal money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce federal and state air quality laws and regulations within its six counties, including Jefferson County, the location of the landfill.

        A civil trial related to the criminal case is scheduled to begin Tuesday in federal court in Columbus.

       



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