March 30, 2015

Commonwealth Court Orders Myron Sainovich To Pay Back Taxpayers

money-justice

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has ordered attorney Myron Sainovich to return over $44,000 in fees he illegally billed above and beyond his $82,000 salary during his time as Beaver County Solicitor.

The Commonwealth Court issued a 5-2 ruling today upholding a prior ruling by Senior Erie County Judge John Bozza that determined Sainovich violated the Pennsylvania County Code when he billed taxpayers to perform jail arbitration work in 2006, even though he was already being paid a salary as the county’s solicitor. Sainovich and his law firm have been ordered to refund that money to taxpayers, along with costs and interest — an amount which will exceed $60,000.

Sainovich was fired as the county solicitor in June 2011 after he refused to pay back the money voluntarily, and scoffed at a call by the Board of Commissioners to resign. Sheriff George David hired Sainovich to serve as his solicitor a short time later. County Controller David Rossi and the Board of Commissioners filed a lawsuit in October of that year to recoup the public funds.

“My office has been saying this all along,” Controller David Rossi told the Beaver Countian after being informed of the Commonwealth Court’s decision. “He owes the taxpayers this money, and every court at every level has agreed he needs to pay it back.”

“I am not surprised by this opinion at all,” said Beaver County Solicitor Joseph Askar after learning about the ruling from this publication. “This opinion is in accordance with the black letter of the law and a history of well established case law.”

At the heart of the issue, is one simple sentence from three short paragraphs that define the position of County Solicitor under the Pennsylvania County Code. “He shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, file with the county commissioners an agreement to pay all fees, attorney’s fees, and commissions received from every source as county solicitor into the county treasury,” it reads.

“Sainovich admits that he was receiving a fixed and specific salary for his services as the County’s solicitor,” wrote the Honorable Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer on behalf of the Commonwealth Court. “Sainovich, as an appointed county officer, was prohibited by The County Code from receiving any extra compensation for the services that he performed within the sphere of his official duties as the County’s solicitor […] hourly payments without limitation are not permissible and […] he could not retain payments over and above his fixed and specific salary for professional acts incident to his office as a county solicitor.”

Myron Sainovich continues to receive a county salary as Solicitor of the Sheriff’s Office because County Commissioners do not have the power to remove him and Sheriff George David refuses to.

About The Author

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John Paul is a Beaver County native and the founder of BeaverCountian.com He reports full-time for the Beaver Countian, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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13 Comments

  1. Tiredashell

    Maybe Georgie will help out with the repayment from all the extra-duty work he has lined up. Loyalty, right George?

     
    Reply
  2. James Groves

    And the bar dont stink ha ha he new dam well he was sticking it to the tax payers Beaver county is a Circus Circus.bunch of jack offs cant play buy the rules its all true.

     
    Reply
  3. Profile photo of Raven
    Raven

    “PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.”

     
    Reply
  4. SpeakTheTruthToo

    A few questions that I have are 1. Why was he paid for the billing if it was illegal for him to bill in the first place? How did that get by payroll, or the Controller’s Office, or whoever was responsible for paying this man $40,000 he didn’t earn?

    2. If he refuses to pay the $60,000, can his county pay for Sheriff Solicitor be garnished until it reaches the $60,000 mark? That way Beaver County can make sure they recover the money. If he quits before the county can collect the full $60,000, can they garnish his tax returns or whatever kinda like they do for child support?

    If anybody knows the answers to these questions or has any theories, I’d love to hear them.

     
    Reply
    1. John Paul

      Sainovich, acting as attorney for the Commissioners, advised the Commissioners that it was legal to contract him and pay him extra to perform the work.  He had them pass a resolution to authorize the payments to him.

      The conflicts of interest there are obvious and are exactly why such activity is unlawful under state law.

      His salary as Sheriff’s Solicitor is small, only around $6,000 I believe. The real financial benefit for him isn’t his paycheck, but the added years of service that get tacked on to his pension.

      County pensions are calculated on your top 3 years (his time making $80k as Solicitor), but your total monthly benefit payments are then based on your years of service, regardless of how much you were making in any of those years.

       
      Reply
  5. Boom baby

    Question, so since this is final again and they have commonwealth court ruling, WHY HASN’T THE COMMISSIONERS AND legal team filed a case against this manipulator to the JUDICIAL CONDUCT BOARD. That would be the ethical thing to do, for misrepresenting the BOARD, taxpayers and county.

    This had been multiple decades of him not representing his clients best interest and causing financial loss to the client.

     
    Reply

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