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Theater owner speaks about investment

Robins Theatre marquee blasts Rep. Ryan’s debate statements

WARREN — The owner of the Robins Theatre said he is greatly offended that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan contended public funding led to the private investment he made at the building.

Mark D. Marvin, who owns the downtown Warren theater, made his displeasure known by putting on the marquee Wednesday and Thursday: “Tim Ryan had nothing to do with the restoration of the Robins Theatre.”

Marvin said Ryan’s claim during Monday’s 13th Congressional District debate “is incorrect, invalid and should never have been made during the debate as the statement only served to confuse and mislead people watching the debate.”

During the closing minutes of the debate, Ryan, D-Howland, addressed Christina Hagan, his Republican challenger, saying: “When you go to downtown Warren, because you can’t just have jobs, you need quality of life. Packard Music Hall, Packard car museum, riverwalk, amphitheater, Kinsman House – all public investments that led to private investment to renovate the Robins Theatre. You don’t know where the Robins Theatre is.”

The last line was among several Ryan made about Hagan of Marlboro Township not living in the 13th Congressional District.

In a written response asking about Marvin’s criticism, Ryan listed the federal money he obtained for downtown Warren projects.

Ryan added: “I did this to help breathe life into the downtown area so that my constituents could have a better quality of life and to help make Warren more attractive for private investment.”

Marvin, president of Downtown Development Group, said he “was extremely offended by (Ryan’s statement at the debate). It’s my money and my hard work. It’s a fact. Downtown Development Group did not spend $1 because of what Tim Ryan did or because of any public money spent downtown. We did it without local, state or federal money. Tim misspoke the other day. He should have never said that. He was looking to get credit for something he didn’t do.”

The statement on the theater’s marquee was put there, Marvin said, because “I received calls from people who asked if I got money. I wanted to clear the air. We self-financed that project. It needed to be cleared up because people questioned me.”

Marvin’s company owns several properties in downtown Warren, including the Mahoning Building, where Ryan’s congressional office is located.

Marvin said he met with Rick Leonard, Ryan’s district director, in June on a separate matter and requested a meeting with the congressman. Marvin said he never heard from Ryan.

He added: “In the future, it might be better for Mr. Ryan to reach out to individuals spending $40 million over 13 years in his district to fully understand the reasoning behind their decisions.”

Fed up with Ryan, Marvin said he’s “not a political guy,” but he donated $2,800 to Hagan’s campaign on June 26.

“It’s time for a change,” Marvin said.

Marvin also gave $750 to President Donald Trump’s campaign on July 2.

Hagan said Ryan’s statement about Robins was “among all his other false claims and promises.”

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