Mario Salwan, the Chagrin Falls man sued by Ohio for allegedly hoarding thousands of N95 masks and selling them at a gigantic mark-up as the pandemic spread and frontline workers dealt with severe shortages of PPE, reached a settlement yesterday with the state.
In a statement issued through his attorney along with the court order, Salwan said, while not admitting to any wrongdoing, that he would:
- Issue a full refund to everyone who bought the subject N-95 masks. Everyone receiving refunds may keep the masks I sent them.
- Transfer 570 of the remaining N-95 masks I originally purchased for my construction business to the state for distribution to Ohio health care workers.
- Remit a one-time $1,500 payment to the state for its investigation.
- Retain only 80 N-95 masks for my worker’s safety for use on job sites.
After the Ohio Attorney General filed the suit, and used Salwan as a poster child for its efforts to combat PPE hoarding, Salwan had issued a statement arguing he was selling 10 packs of masks for $350 simply because that's what the market would bear at the time.
"My company originally purchased 2,800 N-95 masks in March 2019, well before the discovery of the coronavirus and used most of those masks on job sites over the past year," today's statement reads. "I applaud Governor DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton for their work to stop the spread of coronavirus and I amglad to help the Governor and Dr. Acton’s efforts in my contribution of the masks through the resolution of this matter. And above all, I salute healthcare workers on the front lines who risk their lives to help patients sufferingfrom COVID-19."