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17TH DISTRICT Ryan rejects request to release details of loan



Published: Wed, May 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A retired doctor filed a complaint about a contribution to Ryan's campaign.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

WARREN -- Timothy J. Ryan said he will not comply with a request from Anthony A. Latell Jr. to release complete details of a questionable $50,000 loan to Ryan's congressional campaign.

"Mr. Latell is obviously a very desperate politician at this point," said Ryan, of Niles, a state senator. "Seven days before the election, he's attempting to throw a 'Hail Mary' pass regarding a legitimate transaction."

Latell, of Girard, a state representative, said there have been serious questions raised about the loan and voters deserve the complete truth. He sent a letter to Ryan asking that he release all information about the loan to the local press, something Ryan said he will not do.

"If there's nothing wrong with the loan, he should make it available to the media," Latell said. "There's been too much surrounding this. The truth should be out on this."

The two men are in a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination in next week's primary election for the 17th District congressional seat.

The loan in question

Ryan obtained a $50,000 loan from Second National Bank, but because he has no collateral, Dennis Rossi, an insurance salesman who was Ryan's high school junior varsity basketball coach, co-signed the loan.

Federal election rules say a co-signer of a bank loan is considered to be a contributor to a congressional campaign, and that Rossi is responsible for half of the $50,000. Individuals can donate no more than $1,000 to a congressional campaign per election cycle.

Ryan has since paid the bank half of the loan, saying it was Rossi's share, but election rules still consider the balance to be split evenly between the two, meaning Rossi has contributed $12,500 to Ryan's campaign.

Donald Walter, a Mahoning Valley businessman and Sawyer contributor, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The FEC would not have a decision about the loan until after Tuesday's primary.

Other issues

Latell also is questioning why Ryan amended his report three times to correct mistakes about the loan and how he got a 6.25 percent interest rate.

A loan officer at Second National's main branch in Warren quoted to The Vindicator an interest rate of 14.75 percent for an unsecured personal loan with no collateral, which is what Ryan states on his campaign reports he obtained from the bank.

Questions about Ryan's loan emerged a week ago, but Latell did not say anything about it until this week, saying he kept hoping Ryan would do the right thing and be upfront about the loan. When that didn't happen, he said, he felt compelled to speak about the issue.

Stephen Barolosky, a retired cardiologist from Liberty, filed a complaint Tuesday with the Ohio Elections Commission regarding a $2,500 contribution Ryan received from the Mahoning County Democratic Party.

The contribution has been returned because it was illegal.

From trade council

The party received a $2,750 donation from the Western Reserve Trade Council and was asked to give $2,500 of it to Ryan, according to David Ditzler, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party. There was confusion as to which of Ryan's campaign funds the money was to go to.

The trade council wanted the money to go to Ryan's congressional campaign. Ditzler said he was under the impression the money was to be given to pay off an outstanding state campaign loan.

The party is permitted to donate up to $1,000 to a congressional campaign.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said he checked with the Ohio Secretary of State's Office and was told there was no wrongdoing.

Barolosky said state law says no person "shall make a contribution to a campaign committee, political action committee, legislative campaign fund, political party in the name of another person."

Barolosky thinks the contribution should be investigated by the state elections commission.

Denies political motive

Barolosky had help from Marc Dann, a Liberty attorney who supports Latell, in writing up the complaint, but he said that he is not a Latell supporter and that he filed the complaint as a concerned citizen.

"I'm not bound to any candidate," he said. "There's something shady when you have to hide the name of the entity making the contribution."

Ryan said he had no reason to doubt its legality. "They should know better," Ryan said of party officials. "You would think they'd know the rules over there."

The electrical union at Delphi Packard Electric Systems, meanwhile, has endorsed Ryan.

"We need someone with new ideas, new visions and someone who will look outside the box to find jobs for this area," said Kevin Hartill, vice president of the IUE-CWA Local 717 at Delphi in Warren, which represents 4,700 active workers and about 6,500 retirees.

Hartill said Ryan was the only congressional candidate to approach the local asking what he can do to help them.

skolnick@vindy.com




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