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BOARDMAN Trustee amends finance report



Published: Sat, November 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The official said the negative publicity about the loan could cost him some votes but not the election.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Five years after getting a $12,000 loan to pay for his failed Mahoning County commissioner campaign, Boardman Trustee John Cox filed an amended campaign finance report Friday that he says truthfully lists who lent him the money.

This is the second time Cox has amended the report since he filed it in 1996.

Elections Director Michael Sciortino said he will review the revised report, submitted at the board's request by Cox, and will present it to the board of elections at one of its next meetings.

Investigation planned: The board plans to investigate whether Cox violated any elections laws and in all likelihood will forward the information to the Ohio Elections Commission for review, Sciortino said. Cox said he welcomes the investigation.

Questions about the campaign loan were first raised by Samuel M. Moffie, one of Cox's opponents during Tuesday's election.

Moffie held a press conference Friday, a few hours before Cox filed the amended report, wanting to know why Cox had not yet filed the document even though the elections board requested it a week ago.

"We're owed an explanation before the election," Moffie said.

Cox said Moffie is attempting to garner support days before the election at his expense. Cox said the negative publicity could hurt his chances for re-election, but he does not believe it will cost him his seat.

Initial report: When Cox filed his initial campaign finance report in December 1996, he listed a $12,300 loan from himself to his committee.

About a year later, Cox filed an amended report. On that report, the $12,300 loan from himself was replaced by a $12,677 loan to the committee given by Cox's son, who was a medical student at the time. That report also states Cox's son forgave repayment of the loan.

When asked recently about the loan, Cox said the money actually came from John J. Ridel, a Boardman businessman who was appointed in 1990 by trustees, including Cox, to the township's civil service commission.

Cox said he knew he was going to use the money for his commissioner's campaign and assumed Ridel knew it as well. But he did not list the lender as Ridel because he considered it a personal loan and not one to his campaign committee. Cox said his son guaranteed the loan and that is why he was listed as the person giving the money to the campaign committee.

In a letter attached to the amended report, Cox wrote that he was submitting the document "with a great deal of embarrassment ... I truly believed I was doing the right thing by stating that I lent my campaign the funds. I apologize for this oversight and for my ignorance."

skolnick@vindy.com




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