Sunday, April 15, 2001

Former air-quality official sentenced

The Associated Press

        A former executive director of the defunct North Ohio Valley Air Authority was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison for his role in a scheme to help a businessman get state permits to operate a landfill.

        Richard Canestraro, 68, of Steubenville, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sandra S. Beckwith to one year supervised release and fined $10,000, said U.S. Attorney Sharon Zealey.

        Mr. Canestraro had pleaded guilty to a charge of public corruption for aiding Patsy DeLuca in the unlawful acceptance of $169,750 in kickbacks for three years beginning in 1994.

        Mr. Canestraro succeeded Ms. DeLuca as NOVAA's executive director in July 1995. Mr. DeLuca and his son, Ronald DeLuca, and former NOVAA technician Vincent Zumpano pleaded guilty and have been sentenced on charges connected with the landfill per mits and to conspiring to deceive the Internal Revenue Service.

        Mr. Zumpano, 66, of Mingo Junction, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, an $8,000 fine and two years' probation; Patsy DeLuca, 66, of Steubenville, was sentenced to four months in prison, four months in home confinement, a $10,000 fine and two years' probation; Ronald DeLuca, 37, of Athens, was sentenced to six months of home confinement as part of his three years of probation and fined $10,000.

        NOVAA was dismantled in September 1997. It was responsible for monitoring air quality in six east-central Ohio counties.

        The agency also helped regulate landfills, including the Pine Hollow Landfill, which was purchased by Robert “Steve” Vukelic in June 1994.

        Mr. Vukelic pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced April 19.


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