YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Mahoning County magistrate says developers of the stalled Chill Can project in Youngstown breached their agreement with the city and could be liable now for monetary damages.

The decision was filed Wednesday.

Lawyers for the city had sued developer Mitchell Joseph and his company for failing to fulfill plans to build and operate their facility on the East Side. It’s been sitting idle for years.

The magistrate ruled Joseph can be made to repay the $1 million the city invested in the project and ordered a hearing be held next month to determine if damages should be paid as well.

Joseph’s attorney David Betras issued a statement following the ruling:

We have reviewed the Magistrate’s decision and plan to appeal certain portions of the Judgment Entry. This ruling means there will be a Trial. If it wasn’t before, it should now be apparent to all that the parties will be entangled in litigation for years to come. While it is our job to litigate contested matters like these, I can only sympathize with those in the Mahoning Valley that are losing employment opportunities because of the City’s approach to this transaction. Make no mistake about it, there were delays in construction but the project is at a complete standstill now because of the Mayor.  We will continue to prepare for Trial.  

David J. Betras, Esq.