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Published: Thursday, 10/21/2004

Closing arguments heard in Skiadas' suit

Attorneys gave closing arguments yesterday in the civil lawsuit against former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who is accused of berating and assaulting restaurateur John Skiadas during a confrontation four years ago at the Erie Street Market while he was in office.

Judge Charles Wittenberg, who presided over the trial that began four weeks ago in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, took the case under advisement. The judge did not indicate when a decision would be rendered.

But Andrew Ayers, an attorney who defended Mr. Finkbeiner, said he would anticipate Judge Wittenberg taking at least a month to decide the case because of the volume of testimony and exhibits and because of the complicated issues that were involved

Mr. Skiadas, 64, who filed the suit along with his wife, Georgette, sued Mr. Finkbeiner and the city for damages in excess of $25,000 for an incident that occurred July 14, 2000, at the market.

The city was dismissed as a defendant at the conclusion of the plaintiff's case.

Mr. Skiadas, the owner of Pepe's Mexican Restaurant & Cantina on West Sylvania Avenue, claimed he suffered physical and emotional harm when Mr. Finkbeiner confronted him about delays in the construction of a second Pepe's in the city-owed market.

Mr. Skiadas testified that he was assaulted during the confrontation, which included Mr. Finkbeiner allegedly screaming obscenities and threatening to send inspectors to close the West Sylvania restaurant.

The testimony given by Mr. Skiadas that he was struck on the head and chest, poked with a finger, and had his head shaken, conflicted with testimony of both defense and plaintiff witnesses who observed that Mr. Skiadas was only touched on the chest with a finger.

A psychologist and psychiatrist who evaluated Mr. Skiadas testified that he suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome from the incident.

However, another psychiatrist said he believed Mr. Skiadas was not traumatized.

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