MAHONING COUNTY Traficant refuses to give list to election board official
The congressman said the information is part of an investigation he is conducting.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. has denied a request from the chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Elections to provide him with information about mob campaign contributions.
But Mark E. Munroe, board chairman, said at least Traficant, of Poland, D-17th, was prompt in replying to the request.
Munroe sent a letter Monday to Traficant asking for the information as the result of the congressman's making public comments Friday that some local people who attended an anti-Mafia seminar in Italy took mob money. Traficant's response to Munroe came Wednesday.
"My information is part of an ongoing investigation and shall not be made available to you," Traficant wrote to Munroe.
Traficant has said he is in possession of a document detailing information given to federal authorities by an associate of former local crime boss Lenny Strollo's about people, including some who went to the anti-Mafia seminar in Palermo, Sicily, who received money from the mob.
He will not disclose the names of the Strollo associate or the people he says took mob money.
Affidavit submitted: Traficant did, however, submit an affidavit Tuesday into the Congressional Record from Michael Terlecky, a former Mahoning County deputy sheriff convicted in 1990 of taking a bribe from Strollo, in which Terlecky claims Sheriff Randall Wellington and his top deputy, Maj. Michael Budd, who both went to the seminar, are corrupt. Terlecky did not give any details.
Wellington has said the charges by Terlecky about him and his deputy are false.
In the letter to Munroe, Traficant suggested the election official contact FBI agent Van Harp in Cleveland to receive the information he is seeking. He advised Munroe to get a proffer agreement the Strollo associate made with the U.S. Justice Department after five meetings between May 28, 1998, and Nov. 13, 1998, in the Euclid city jail with members of the U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI and the IRS.
Wants to probe claims: Munroe wants the information so the elections board and the Ohio Elections Commission can investigate the claims made by Traficant about improper campaign contributions.
Munroe said he will send a letter to Harp along with the correspondence between him and Traficant and articles in The Vindicator regarding Traficant's claims.
Traficant, who is the subject of a federal grand jury probe and is gathering information to defend himself in court, has said he will release the information when he thinks it is the right time to do so.