Secretary of state disqualifies Infante
The seat on the board has been vacant for eight months.
WARREN -- A 13-year-old elections violation and a day-late campaign finance report disqualify Niles Mayor Ralph Infante from serving on the Trumbull County Board of Elections, the Ohio Secretary of State's office has ruled.
Infante also should not be allowed on the board because he failed to divulge the violations on his application form, according to a letter sent to Christ Michelakis, Trumbull County Democratic Party chairman and also the county's treasurer.
"They were a couple of petty things," Michelakis said. "My opinion is that the Republicans are trying to control that board."
He said the party has not decided if it will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court or nominate a new board member.
Judy Infante, the mayor's wife and campaign treasurer, said they planned to fight.
"We have done nothing wrong," she said.
She said the Infante campaign turned in a report a day late in 1999 because the family was vacationing in Hawaii. The other violation related to a Infante political advertisement that a cousin of the mayor's put in a festival booklet in 1991. The advertisement suggested that Infante was already serving as mayor, Judy Infante said.
"We didn't see it until it was printed and the books were already out," she said.
The case went to the Ohio Ethics Commission, which ruled against Infante.
Judy Infante said her husband forgot to disclose the violations on his application form. He could not be reached to comment.
Infante was tapped by party officials to serve on the board in May, after the Ohio attorney general ruled that the party's first pick, Barbara Katzenberger, was ineligible because of her day job working for Michelakis.
The position, which has been vacant since January, pays $14,316 a year.