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Painful memories

May 30, 2012
Morning Journal News


Recently your paper has had two articles regarding Dave Sugar and his contracting company and County Commissioner John Payne speaking the truth. One on April 30, the next demanding an apology from Commissioner Payne on May 4 from Dave Sugar's attorney, Charles Dunlap.

Payne never said that Dave Sugar Excavating had an employee killed while on the job. He said, "I have issues with Mr. Sugar's company. There's not a stellar safety record."

Attorney Dunlap, either Mr. Sugar failed to inform you of all the different names he has done business as or how many times he has changed the name of his company. He is still the owner and operator of those companies. Responsible for the safety of his employees as well as the public. A leopard does not change his spots no matter what he calls himself.

I personally know of two instances where people have been killed. At the time Dave Sugar's business was listed as Dave Sugar Construction Company.

John McKenrick, 18 years old, was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1990 in Calcutta, Ohio, when he was crushed by a crane. The operator did not "realize" that John McKenrick was in danger.

The other instance did not involve an employee. It involved my 2 1/2-year-old baby.

On June 23, 1985 at South Range Lake in New Middletown (Dave Sugar owned) Dustin Leonard was electrocuted. Buried electrical lines had been cut by a bulldozer operated by Joe Best who worked for Dave Sugar Contracting Co. on Friday, June 21, 1985. On Saturday, June 22, 1985, Dave Sugar personally inspected the property. He deemed the park safe for the public, even though the electrical lines were exposed and sticking up out of the ground.

With the lines cut where the public was exposed to hazards, no caution tape, no area blocked off, no warnings of danger, no safety measures in place, the park was open for business.

Dusty grabbed those lines as he went running from my arms just after giving me a daisy, a kiss and saying, "Mommy, I love you." The next sound out of his little mouth was a scream as the electricity raced through his little body and mine as I grabbed my baby and tried to pull him away from being electrocuted.

By Dave Sugar and his attorney Charles Dunlap demanding apologies, to me they are saying my son never lived, never breathed, he was never killed because it did not happen while Dave Sugar was doing business as Dave Sugar Excavating. Dave Sugar and Dave Sugar Construction Company did in Mahoning County Court in May 1989 agree that they were at fault and responsible for Dusty's death.

Dave Sugar is still the man who owned and operated the companies no matter what name he may call it this week.

No, County Commissioner John Payne does not owe anyone an apology. I personally commend him for not being afraid to speak the truth, not being bribed, for having concerns about the public's and employees' safety. He has reason to be, we all do.

Robin Dubbert

East Palestine



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