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Published: Friday, 10/1/2004

Psychologist: Finkbeiner traumatized restaurateur

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A psychologist who treated John Skiadas after a confrontation four years ago with then-Mayor Carty Finkbeiner testified yesterday that Mr. Skiadas suffered post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident.

Gerald Briskin, a Monroe psychologist, said Mr. Skiadas, who operates an eatery at the Erie Street Market, suffered from traumatic neurosis and a mood disorder when he evaluated him a week after the July 14, 2000, incident with Mr. Finkbeiner.

Mr. Briskin recommended the restaurateur get treatment immediately from a psychiatrist who would be able to give him medication for depression.

"I indicated to him the sooner he did that, the better it would be," Mr. Briskin testified during Mr. Skiadas' civil lawsuit trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court against Mr. Finkbeiner and the city of Toledo. Mr. Skiadas, 64, and his wife, Georgette, are seeking in excess of $25,000 for unspecified damages from the former mayor and the city of Toledo. The trial began Tuesday.

Mr. Skiadas, owner of Pepe's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina on West Sylvania Avenue, was preparing to open the restaurant in the city-owned market when Mr. Finkbeiner confronted him about construction delays that caused the restaurant to miss a July 4th weekend opening.

Mr. Skiadas claimed the former mayor was verbally and physically abusive, screamed profanity, and threatened to send city inspectors to find violations at the West Sylvania restaurant. He claimed stress from the incident caused him to suffer an angina attack that sent him to a hospital, and that he was so badly traumatized, he was suicidal, depressed, and became less involved in the operation of the restaurants.

During the 90-minute evaluation, Mr. Briskin said he learned Mr. Skiadas perceived Mr. Finkbeiner as a friend who was influential and could resolve issues Mr. Skiadas was having in the construction of the restaurant.

Instead, Mr. Skiadas was devastated and his perception of Mr. Finkbeiner was shattered, which triggered the stress symptoms, Mr. Briskin said.

Attorney John Potts, who represents Mr. Skiadas and his wife in the lawsuit, asked Mr. Briskin if he believed the behavior was genuine. "I did not believe Mr. Skiadas was faking his behavior," he responded.

But under questioning by Andrew Ayers, an attorney for the city, Mr. Briskin said Mr. Skiadas did not appear to be suicidal.

"I did not note it. That would have been significant," Mr. Briskin said.

The trial, which is being heard by Judge Charles Wittenberg, will resume today.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-724-6009.



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