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Man Who Introduced Obama At Rally Owes $500G To Former Employer

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President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Dobbins Elementary School on July 5, 2012 in Poland, Ohio. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at Dobbins Elementary School on July 5, 2012 in Poland, Ohio. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (CBS Cleveland/AP) — An Ohio man who says he once lost his job and introduced President Barack Obama at a rally on Friday had been accused of stealing trade secrets by a former boss.

Court records show that Daniel Potkanowicz and a business partner in the Youngstown area were ordered to pay $500,000 to Clearview Window & Door after a judge ruled in 2009 that they had violated trade secrets.

The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown reports that the two partners have not paid back the money.

Potkanowicz told the newspaper that he didn’t want to talk about his past.

“That’s part of my life I really don’t want to go into,” Potkanowicz told The Vindicator. “I’m not really talking about that.”

A call to his home wasn’t answered Saturday.

Richard Albright, owner of Clearview, couldn’t believe Potkanowicz would be allowed to introduce the president.

“I’m wondering who put him up there,” Albright told The Vindicator. “He was involved in a scandal, and he’s introducing the president.”

Potkanowicz now works for Summer Garden Food Manufacturing, a company Obama toured on Friday. He says the president’s campaign selected him to speak after talking with management there.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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