A video that shows Village Commissioner Mark Hosty repeatedly dumping dog poop into a sewer on his block a little more than two years ago has attracted more than 2,000 views and generated a lot of talk in town since it was posted on YouTube a little more than a month ago.
The video, which runs for 4 minutes and 7 seconds, was shot from a window in the home of Steve and Gloria Backman. Steve Backman is former president of what was once called Citizens United in Forest Park, now called Vox60130. The Backmans, who both serve on the board of Vox60130, and Hosty live on the same block of Warren but have long been political opponents.
The video, which is titled “Dog Poop Scofflaw,” was shot in early 2013. It shows Hosty walking his dog Buddy and emptying out his pooper scooper into a sewer on Warren directly across from the Backmans’ home on eight different days in late January and February of 2013. On some of those occasions Hosty seems to be looking around to check if anyone is seeing what he is doing.
Putting dog poop into a sewer is a violation of a village ordinance, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian.
Hosty says that he didn’t realize that at the time.
“I own two houses on the block, and I was walking between them picking up all the dog deposits on the block,” Hosty told the Forest Park Review last week. “I would put them in the sewer because I thought that’s where you put poop, to be honest with you. I’ve since been corrected on that. I don’t know. I think having it go in a sewer isn’t a terrible thing instead of a plastic bag and rotting in a landfill for a hundred years. I was trying to clean up the block. I figured putting it in a sewer instead of bagging it was better for the environment.”
Hosty acknowledged that he made a mistake in dumping the dog poop into and on to the sewer.
“In hindsight I shouldn’t have put in the sewer,” Hosty said. “I was cleaning up an entire block. If you think that could come from one dog it would have to be the size of a Clydesdale.”
Hosty, who is running for his fifth term on the village council in the April 7 election, said that posting the video now was a political move designed to hurt him in the village council race.
“It’s conveniently being released by the same person who sued me four years ago during an election,” Hosty said. “This is completely politically motivated and it’s taken up too much energy and it’s unfortunate. It’s a distraction.”
Steve Backman acknowledged making the video and posting it on YouTube.
“Neighbors brought it to our attention,” Backman said. “All we had to do was look out the window of our own house.”
Backman declined to comment when asked whether posting the video now was politically motivated and part of an attempt to defeat Hosty.
Backman was asked what he expected people to think of the video.
“People can draw their own conclusions,” Backman said.
Hosty said that Backman has videotaped him at other times.
“Mr. Backman not only videotaped me doing that but when I’m mowing my lawn, he drives down the alley and videotapes me in his truck,” Hosty said. “He videotapes me almost constantly.”
Backman denied that he has videotaped Hosty mowing his lawn.
“I have no clue what he is talking about,” Backman said. “I cannot fathom a situation in which Mr. Hosty mowing his lawn would, in and of itself, interest me or anyone in the slightest and therefore deny it.”
Some years ago, the Backmans complained that Hosty did not obtain permits when he was doing extensive renovation and addition work on his house. Eventually, Hosty obtained the permits.
“These people who made the video have been scrutinizing my life for the past 16 years,” Hosty said. “I haven’t done anything to these people. They just have an unhealthy obsession with me. There’s nothing I’ve done to them except to get elected and back candidates they don’t like. But I guess that’s all part of local politics. People tell me it’s like this in every town. I just can’t imagine there’s somebody like this in every town.”