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Published: Wednesday, 10/20/2004

Doctor says restaurateur didn't suffer heart attack

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A cardiologist testified yesterday that chest pains John Skiadas suffered after a run-in with then-Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on July, 14, 2000, were caused by stomach problems, and not by a heart attack.

But Dr. William Schafer, testifying in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on behalf of Mr. Finkbeiner, said Mr. Skiadas had refused previous recommendations to undergo a heart catheterization to determine whether any problems existed.

Dr. Schafer, who had provided care to Mr. Skiadas since the mid-1990s, said he told Mr. Skiadas in the hospital on the day of the confrontation with Mr. Finkbeiner that if he didn't agree to undergo the heart catheterization, he would no longer continue to treat him.

Mr. Skiadas did undergo the procedure, which indicated some blockage in an artery, and Mr. Skiadas underwent angioplasty that day.

Dr. Schafer said the chest discomfort Mr. Skiadas felt after the incident with Mr. Finkbeiner was because of problems he was having in moving food through his esophagus. He said testing showed that Mr. Skiadas likely did not suffer a heart attack.

Mr. Skiadas, owner of Pepe's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina on West Sylvania Avenue, claims the then-mayor assaulted him by punching his chest and head, poking him with a finger, and grabbing his head and shaking it. At the time, Mr. Skiadas was trying to open a second Pepe's in the city-owned Erie Street Market.

Mr. Skiadas and his wife, Georgette, are asking in excess of $25,000 for damages. The trial began Sept. 28 and is being decided by Judge Charles Wittenberg, who is hearing the case instead of a jury. Judge Wittenberg could hear closing arguments from attorneys today.

Dr. Schafer testified that he continued to treat Mr. Skiadas after the incident, but he became concerned that Mr. Skiadas' care was being driven by his attorney.

Later yesterday, Mr. Finkbeiner, who previously testified, re-took the witness stand, but this time he defended his actions in questions asked by his attorney, Mark Trimble.

Mr. Finkbeiner said he met with Mr. Skiadas that day to give him a "stern message" after learning city officials expressed concerns about delays in construction of the restaurant.

Among the issues that Mr. Finkbeiner said needed attention were unpaid rent, disrespectful treatment of city inspectors, unpaid contractors, and noncompliance with paying prevailing wages to carpenters.

Mr. Finkbeiner said Mr. Skiadas missed two deadlines for opening the restaurant and was about two weeks away from missing a third projected deadline. The restaurant opened in early October, 2000.

Mr. Finkbeiner said he did not intend to inflict physical or emotional harm on Mr. Skiadas.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-724-6009.



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