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Donald “Ducky” Conti Jr. says he;s been made a scapegoat because of his association with Gary Felasco. — Erica Mihok/NEWS

Donald “Ducky” Conti Jr. told a judge yesterday he’s been made a scapegoat because of his association with Gary Felasco.

Conti defended himself in the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas, giving Judge J. Craig Cox reasons he should not be removed as a member of the Lawrence County Housing Authority board.

Attorney Tom Beshara of the law firm Balph, Nicolls, Mitsos, Flannery and Clark, argued on behalf of the county commissioners that Conti should be removed from the authority because of a misdemeanor conviction of illegal liquor sales and operating illegal gambling machines at a private club in 2003.

The Vita Nuova Club was closed after police raided it and Conti and two others were charged.

He pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year. Then the commissioners, who make appointments to the housing authority board, petitioned the court to have him removed.

Conti argued he was one of nine officers of the private social club, yet he was singled out when the club itself should have been charged.

He claimed his friendship with Felasco — Lawrence County’s treasurer who was found guilty of stealing more than $42,000 from the county — was the reason for him being targeted.

Conti was the secretary-treasurer of the club while he was serving as a housing authority member.

Cox said yesterday he will review the case, and a deposition Conti gave in June, and will make a decision later.

Conti appeared in court without an attorney, saying afterward he could not afford legal representation.

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