YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Former Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Marty Desmond is appealing his firing, saying he was removed solely because he reported misconduct in the prosecutor’s office.
The appeal was filed with the State Personnel Board of Review.
When contacted Thursday about the appeal, Desmond said, “The truth will come out. I promise that to the community.”
Desmond was fired last month by Prosecutor Paul Gains, who said Desmond failed to report his suspicions of a colleague’s wrongdoing and to report a pending lawsuit involving the county.
Last month, Gains told WKBN that Desmond began looking into a case handled by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dawn Cantalamessa. He said Desmond alleged that Cantalamessa lied to the court about the case, and he discussed his suspicions with people outside of the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office.
Gains said an internal investigation into Cantalamessa’s actions and other attorneys involved showed they did not engage in any improper conduct, despite Desmond’s allegations.
Gains also said Desmond was told that a lawsuit was going to be filed against prosecutors and the county, and he failed to notify him about the lawsuit.
Desmond’s notice of appeal says he believed the conduct in the prosecutor’s office was a criminal offense, however. He said he presented a memorandum to Gains identifying misconduct of which he had become aware of within the office on January 27.
On March 23, Desmond received a notice placing him on administrative leave, and on April 5, he then received his termination letter, the notice said.
“These actions were retaliatory and unlawful,” the notice reads.
Desmond’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, said Desmond should have been protected by whistleblower laws.
“It was disgusting and dismaying that Prosecutor Gains not only terminated Mr. Desmond for reasons that Mr. Desmond believes were retaliatory for the whistleblowing but also then stomped on his reputation and did everything he could to besmirch Mr. Desmond’s good name,” he said.
A hearing will be held to determine whether Desmond can be reinstated. Chandra said he’s also preparing to take other legal action in court in Desmond’s behalf.Watch: Interview with Desmond’s attorney
Gains declined to comment on the appeal.