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CANFIELD Candidate in 1999 city council race violated election law



Published: Sat, April 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



He still owes the state for filing his financial disclosure statement nearly two years late.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- A seasonal Mahoning County Board of Elections employee got a 30-day suspended jail sentence for violating state financial disclosure laws in an election.

Christopher Buck, 30, of 650 W. Main St., filed an Ohio Financial Disclosure Statement as a candidate for Canfield City Council nearly two years late. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty Wednesday by Mahoning County Court Judge Scott Hunter of violating disclosure laws.

Hunter also ordered Buck to pay a total $100 in fines and court costs and placed him on nonreporting probation for a year.

Buck works between 30 and 40 hours a week at $7.50 an hour packing bags and preparing election equipment for the board during the weeks leading up to an election. He also is a Republican precinct committee candidate from Canfield city precinct 5.

Board reaction

Tom McCabe, deputy director of the board of elections, said the board most likely will discuss Buck's conviction at a meeting Wednesday. Until then, Buck has been suspended, McCabe said.

"We're not sure what to do at this point," he said. "I guess it's going to be a wait and see."

McCabe added that the conviction will not affect Buck's candidacy for GOP precinct committee. Buck could not be reached for comment.

Disclosure statement

The misdemeanor charge stems from Buck's campaign for council in 1999. Under state ethics laws, Buck, like all other candidates for office, was required to file a financial disclosure statement with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The statement must include information about the candidate's investments, expenses, businesses and sources of income for the previous year.

Buck's statement, along with a $10 filing fee, was due to the ethics commission by Oct. 4, 1999. The commission, however, didn't receive the statement and the fee until Oct. 3, 2001, nearly two years after the deadline and the election.

Buck received 222 votes and finished last among the four candidates in the election.

State law allows the ethics commission to charge Buck a fee of $5 per day that the statement is late, up to a maximum of $100. Julie Korte, an investigative attorney for the ethics commission, said Buck has yet to pay the late fees.

Korte said that if Buck does not pay his late fees before his probation ends, the commission can forward the case to the Ohio Attorney General's office for additional legal action.




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