In late September, a magistrate ordered the developer of Youngstown’s unfinished Chill Can project to refund $1.5 million to the city and the Joseph Company appealed that ruling.

On Monday, Judge Sweeney issued a judgment that the plaintiffs in the case, the Joseph Company, had breached its contract with the city and was entitled to damages of $1.5 million in Mahoning County Common Please Court.

According to the ruling, the Joseph Company failed to complete the project or to hire any significant amount of employees, allowing for the city to be refunded the grant funds.

What began more than 5 years ago as a project to create 237 new jobs at a plant in Youngstown that would manufacture self-chilling beverage cans brought a judgment from County Court Magistrate Dennis Sarisky on Wednesday.
 

In his opinion, Sarisky found that M.J. Joseph Development failed to complete the project and hire any significant number of employees as required under an Enterprise Zone agreement with the city to provide $1,500,000 in grant funds for the project.

The Joseph Company broke ground in late 2016 for the plant on a ten-acre site on the East Side.
City lawyers argued that two of the buildings still not finished were supposed to be completed almost five years ago.
 

Reacting to the Joseph Company’s earlier suggestion that the COVID-19 Pandemic is to blame for the delays, the city says that under the agreement, the company was supposed to have hired 150 employees before the world ever heard of COVID.

Attorney for The Joseph Company Brian Kopp told 21 News "We will review the decision with our client and proceed forward."

Kopp said as ordered by the judge, they will obtain dates for the necessary hearings and trial.