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TRUMBULL CO. Altiere's election dispute goes on



Published: Sat, May 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An assistant attorney general is asking the appeals court to hold oral arguments in the case.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere's November 2000 election should not be certified because he did not comply with campaign finance laws, according to the Trumbull County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State.

Those arguments are in legal briefs filed Friday in the 5th District Court of Appeals in response to Altiere's request that the court order the board of elections to certify his election.

Appeals court officials said they did not know when a decision on the case will be made.

The brief filed by the board of elections states that Altiere's campaign finance reports are "incomplete, inaccurate, and in some instances, an indication of illegal activity."

What was sought: The brief notes that Norma J. Williams, director of the board of elections, sent Altiere a letter in January requesting that the sheriff provide additional information on his campaign reports.

Williams asked Altiere to list contributors for 1999-2000, including contributors of $25 or less, and corporate contributors, the brief states.

Williams also requested numerous copies of checks and notified Altiere that "his receipt of corporate contributions was illegal and that those checks needed to be returned."

The brief states that Altiere listed some contributions from corporations as though they had come from individuals.

The sheriff failed to respond to the requests, the brief states.

His response: Altiere, however, has said that he did comply with the requests.

Attys. Charles Ohlin and Sam Bluedorn, who represent Altiere, said the sheriff has done everything he is required to do by law and that it is an "abuse of discretion" for the election board and the secretary of state not to certify his election.

The brief filed by Arthur J. Marziale Jr., an assistant state attorney general, who is representing the secretary of state's office, says the secretary "is in the best position to determine" if Altiere is in compliance with the campaign finance laws.

The secretary ruled earlier this year that Altiere's election should not be certified because there are still questions about his campaign finance reports.

Other requests: Marziale also filed a motion asking the appeals court to hold oral arguments on the case.

"Oral argument is necessary because of the important public policy considerations at issue in this case," the motion states.

Altiere filed for a writ of mandamus in December with the 11th District Court of Appeals, which is located in Warren, but the judges, who all know Altiere, had the case transferred to the 5th District in Stark County. A writ of mandamus is a court order to take a specified action.




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