YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been six years since ground was broken for Youngstown’s Chill-Can plant and though there are three buildings, nothing has ever been made.

Now that a magistrate has ruled that the Joseph Company — owner of the Chill-Can plant — has breached its contract and owes the city $1.5 million, will the next step be to get companies into the buildings to use them?

The area around the three buildings that comprise Youngstown’s East Side Chill-Can plant is covered in weeds. Large bushes obscure the view and a vine is working its way across a fence.

“I know that the mayor wants these buildings and wants this land back,” said Youngstown law director Jeff Limbian.

Limbian says the city wants to take control of the buildings.

Reporter Stan Boney: “If you get them back, do you have people waiting in line to use them?”
Limbian: “There have been calls and inquiries made by several entities.”

“You cannot get lending and private equity money to put more capital in when there’s a pending lawsuit,” said Attorney Brian Kopp.

Kopp represents the Joseph Company. He plans to appeal to common pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney the $1.5 million repayment ordered by the magistrate. Kopp expects the case for further damages, and who controls the property, to end up at trial. If he loses there, he’ll keep appealing.

“This is as complex in contractual interpretation, damages and all the things that come with difficult litigation and appellate work. This could linger for years and years,” Kopp said.

“Which again speaks to the fact that Mitchell Joseph, despite all his representations, cares little or nothing about the people of Youngstown, Ohio,” Limbian said.

Limbian says the city and Joseph Company owner Mitchell Joseph have tried negotiating a settlement. Limbian would not say what was proposed, only that any future negotiations are over.

Limbian: “But suffice it to say that there is nothing that Mitchell Joseph can do short of leaving that would satisfy the city.”
Boney: “At this point, you’re done?”
Limbian: “We’re done.”

“This should be looked at from the standpoint that we have somebody who invested their own treasurer in our city for no reason other than the fact that they had connections to it. Why we’re not honoring that I cannot understand,” Kopp said.

A hearing is scheduled for October 17 on where the Chill-Can case goes from here. We may learn at that time when a trial could begin.