ALTIERE CAMPAIGN FINANCES Party insider says he wasn't a donor
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
and STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A Weathersfield precinct committeeman says he was falsely listed as a contributor on campaign finance reports filed by Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere.
"I went to all his rallies, but I never paid him no money," said Samuel T. Thomas. "Precinct committeemen get free tickets."
A letter from Thomas saying that he did not donate any money to Altiere's campaign was filed Friday with the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
The letters will become part of a packet of information delivered to the state elections board for a hearing Aug. 31, said Norma J. Williams, director of the Trumbull board.
She was unable to confirm that Thomas was actually listed on Altiere's campaign finance reports, or the listed donation. "We haven't had time to look yet," Williams said.
Thomas said he learned that he was listed as a donor from another precinct committeeman.
His letter, and a second letter from Robert J. Jacola, chief of the Bazetta Police Department, were hand-delivered to the board by Bill Jobe, whose complaints about Altiere's finances have sparked a hearing by the Ohio Board of Elections.
Both letters were dated July 2000. Jobe could not be reached to explain why he was just coming forward with year-old letters now.
"Bill Jobe is trying to pull things out of the woodwork in an attempt to find that I have done something wrong, but I have done nothing wrong," Altiere said.
The sheriff also said Thomas is angry at him because he wanted more free tickets to his events.
"I'm not giving free tickets out anymore," Altiere said.
Second letter: Jacola's letter describes a conversation he had with a Niles police officer, who he said told him a third person asked for permission to list the Niles officer's name as purchaser of tickets to an Altiere fund-raiser.
According to the letter, the Niles policeman agreed to it, saying he "probably" bought some tickets.
But, Jacola said Friday, "It is unfortunate Bill Jobe wants to continue his attacks on Tom Altiere on behalf of Steve Lamantia."
Altiere defeated Lamantia to win re-election last year. Jobe was on Lamantia's campaign staff.