City Postpones Chill-Can Plant Inspection

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A planned inspection Friday of the 21-acre site where the M.J. Joseph Development Corp. began construction five years ago of a proposed Chill-Can manufacturing campus is tentatively postponed until Oct. 14, city Law Director Jeff Limbian said Thursday.

Attorneys for the city and Joseph Development mutually agreed to the delay, following a request by an attorney for Mitchell Joseph, Joseph Development CEO. 

The city had filed an inspection notice for the property earlier this month in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where the city is seeking $2.8 million in damages against the company for being in default of two development agreements it signed in 2017.   

“Mr. Joseph’s attorney contacted me yesterday and asked, because of family reasons, if the inspection could be postponed,” Limbian said. “He decided he really wanted to be part of this process.” 

Brian Kopp is the attorney of record representing M.J. Joseph Development in the case.

Pickup trucks can be seen at the Chill-Can property.

The city, which provided grant funds, acquired property and incurred demolition and abatement expenses, filed suit in June against Joseph Development, which had had agreed to spend $20 million to construct three buildings in October 2017 and hire more than 200 workers by August 2021 for sale and distribution of its self-chilling beverage cans.  

To date, there are no full-time employees working at the site. 

In response, Joseph Development argued that any damages to the city were because of its “own negligence and fault.”

The unfinished buildings have been largely vacant, though pickup trucks recently were spotted at the site with bay doors opened at two of the three buildings. 

“Semis are what I need to see,” Mayor Jamael Tito Brown commented when informed about the pickup trucks at the site. “Their equipment should be coming on a flatbed.”  

Limbian said he was unaware of any deliveries being made at the site. Other than the communication regarding the inspection’s postponement he reported there has been no communication with Joseph’s attorneys.

“There was noting substantive that has occurred that would move this forward other than getting ready for trial,” he remarked. 

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