Ex-sheriff, major sued over firing

YOUNGSTOWN – A civil suit filed almost 12 years ago is about ready to proceed.

Former Mahoning County Sheriff’s Deputy John Martynyszyn is suing former Maj. Michael Budd and former Sheriff Randall Wellington over being arrested by Budd in 2000 during an internal affairs investigation.

Budd went on to be involved in a federal lawsuit at the Mahoning County Jail involving the mistreatment of inmates. Budd was tried twice in federal court for ordering and participating in the beating of three inmates. He was found innocent the first time and convicted the second time and sentenced to at least eight years in federal prison.

He was released from prison in 2012.

Wellington retired as sheriff effective the first of the year. His place was taken by Jerry Greene.

Martynyszyn filed the suit in August 2001 in Youngstown Municipal Court over a felony bad check charge that was filed against him after he was arrested in 2000.

The case in common pleas court will be heard by visiting Judge Thomas Curran.

Things began when Martynyszyn did concrete construction work on the side then and was asked by a fellow deputy to do some work on his mother’s driveway, according to a trial brief filed by Martynyszyn’s attorneys.

The work did not end well. The woman told Martynyszyn she wanted her deposit back and she filed a complaint with Wellington, who assigned it to Budd, who was then head of internal affairs.

According to the trial brief, Budd told Martynyszyn to pay back the woman and to give Budd money or criminal charges would be filed against him. Martynyszyn wrote a check but asked Budd to wait a few days so he could make a deposit and would have enough money in his account to cover the check. According to the brief, Budd agreed to that request.

A few days later, Martynyszyn was told by Budd that he would be arrested on a bad check charge because the check came back for insufficient funds. Martynyszyn claims that Budd gave the check to the woman before he could make the deposit to cover the check, then had him arrested. Martynyszyn said he tried to speak to Wellington about the matter but Wellington refused to see him.

The charge was dismissed at the municipal court level. Martynyszyn then filed his suit. He alleges that Wellington and Budd violated his civil rights by arresting him, that he was arrested falsely by Budd and that Wellington failed to properly supervise Budd and properly train him.

Budd and Wellington appealed common pleas court rulings that they were entitled to be protected because of immunity that public sector workers have from being sued, but the 7th District Court of Appeals denied that claim. The case was then appealed to the state Supreme Court, who refused in 2005 to hear the case.

At a pretrial hearing Dec. 17 Curran set the case for trial after attorneys could not work out a settlement.