Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ex Ohio congressman James Traficant is dead at 73, Traficant fought for his constituents and as county sheriff stopped mortgage companies from putting people out of their homes during the height of America's foreclosure crisis

By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: (216) 659-0463. ( / (

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Former Democratic Congressman James Traficant is dead at 73.
The controversial and colorful Traficant, who  served some seven years in prison for convictions for taking bribes and kickbacks, died Saturday after a serious injury  on his family farm in Youngstown, Ohio.  Youngstown is a city of Mahoning County and is situated some 65 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Also a former Mahoning County sheriff, Traficant was injured Tuesday after a vintage tractor flipped over on him . He died four days later in a Youngstown hospital.

Traficant represented Ohio's 17th congressional district for 17 years and  was expelled from Congress in 2002 following his convictions by a  federal  jury. He had been pursued by federal prosecutors once before but beat the case while representing himself. But that same strategy did not work the second time around. After prison he unsuccessfully tried to make a comeback, but lost the election running as an Independent. Even after his convictions he remained popular, many of his constituents of whom say he was a  fighter who as county sheriff refused to put people out of their homes during the height of America's foreclosure crisis.

Traficant will also be remembered for his flamboyant speeches in Congress, and his toupee. He told reporters during his last corruption trial that the prosecution was politically motivated, partly because of some fellow Congressional Democrats, he said, that accused him of being to cordial to Republicans in recent years on some divisive voting issues in Congress. He was succeeded in Congress by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Niles Democrat.

Funeral arrangements are pending, a family spokesperson said yesterday. The former congressman is survived by wife, Patricia, and two daughters

( / (