Subpoena requests are just politics, official says
The subpoenas seek testimony of the mayor's attorney and his wife, an appeals court judge.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections says a request for Mayor George M. McKelvey's family to attend a hearing is little more than a game of political tit-for-tat.
Director Michael V. Sciortino is referring to a request from the attorney for Youngstown mayoral candidate Percy Squire to subpoena McKelvey, his wife and two of their children to testify at a hearing to determine if Squire is a Youngstown resident and thus eligible to run for mayor.
"I can't see the merit of this request," Sciortino said. "I'll run it by the board and whatever they want me to do, I will. But it doesn't look relevant to me. The hearing is to determine Squire's residency, not McKelvey's."
Another request: Donald J. McTigue of Columbus, Squire's attorney, also asked the board to issue subpoenas to Edwin Romero, McKelvey's attorney, and Romero's wife, Judge Cheryl Waite of the Ohio Seventh District Court of Appeals.
Romero and his wife sold a Kiwatha Road home to Squire and his wife, Franklin County Juvenile Judge Carole Squire, in 1995.
Romero recently issued subpoenas requiring Squire, his wife, his two children and his parents, who live in the Youngstown home, to testify at the Aug. 14 residency hearing.
Also, subpoenas were issued to obtain Squire's income tax records in Columbus, where he has a home and an office, and Youngstown, which he says is his home.
Background: Squire, an independent candidate for mayor, is the only person challenging McKelvey, a Democrat, during the Nov. 6 general election. Squire admits he does not live in Youngstown, but says he has a residence there, making him eligible to run for mayor.
Squire also does not see any reason why McKelvey wants his family to testify at the Aug. 14 hearing.
"I don't see any reason why he has to inconvenience all these witnesses when I'm not disputing the fact that I don't live in Youngstown," Squire said.
Squire said bringing McKelvey's family to the hearing is not a tit-for-tat.
"I'm challenging George's credibility and his motivation for the protest," Squire said. "He is not trustworthy and I will show that by questioning his family."
But Sciortino said there is no reason to require McKelvey's family to attend the hearing because the question to be decided is about Squire's residency and not the mayor's.
His reasoning: Squire said it would be unfair for the board to require his family to testify at the hearing and not force McKelvey's family to do the same.
"This is in direct response to Mr. Squire's children, wife and parents' being subpoenaed," Romero said of McTigue's subpoena request.
Romero said the subpoena request for himself and his wife is an attempt by Squire to get him off the case.
"He wants to make me unavailable to represent Mr. McKelvey by asking me questions about his purchase of my house," he said.
Andrew J. Douglas of Youngstown, a Democratic precinct committeeman, had filed a protest to Squire's candidacy over the residency issue before McKelvey's complaint.
At the Aug. 14 hearing, the board will ask that both protests be consolidated into one, Sciortino said. The board is expected to make a decision on Squire's residency the day of the hearing.
Either party can appeal the decision to the Ohio Court of Appeals.