Times may get harder for scribe

LISBON – A lawsuit has been filed against the East Palestine publisher of “Hard Times” claiming the publication printed a likeness of Brian Bees of Austintown and falsely listed him as a habitual sexual offender last February.

“Hard Times” collects mugshots from local sheriff’s departments, including in Youngstown, where the circulation is reportedly about 15,000 per week.

According to the civil case filed this week in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, Jason Trosky of East Palestine is responsible for the publication of the “Hard Times” in the Youngstown area. The lawsuit claims the likeness of Bees reportedly ran on Feb. 1, 2012 with the habitual sexual offender label. However, the lawsuit notes Bees has never been convicted of any sexual-related crimes.

The only conviction listed on the Mahoning County courts’ website in 2012 for Brian Bees Jr. of Austintown was for a drug abuse instruments charge. Court documents there show he was fined $250 on the charge. He also had a driving under suspension for failure to appear charge last February.

Bees is seeking in excess of $25,000 for alleged defamation and invasion of privacy, claiming since his appearance in “Hard Times” he has lost his reputation and suffered damage in his occupation.

Two phone calls to Trosky were not answered. Bees’ attorney from the Rhys Brendan Cartwright-Jones firm in Youngstown declined to speak about the case on the record.