Ex-commissioner denies financial wrongdoing
Angelo said he reported all discrepancies to the county elections board.
By MICHELE C. HLADIK
COLUMBUS -- Former Trumbull County Commissioner Joseph Angelo Jr. denies he committed any financial wrongdoing involving campaign finance reports from 1999 to 2002.
The affidavit he submitted Tuesday with the Ohio Elections Commission was a response to a complaint filed by Victor V. Vigluicci, the Portage County prosecutor who is acting as a special prosecutor in an unrelated probe of Trumbull County purchasing practices.
The OEC will have a preliminary review of the Angelo case at 10 a.m. Thursday here.
According to the complaint, Angelo, from 1999 to 2002, had contributions of $25 or less that "significantly exceeded amounts traceable to the campaign bank account." The complaint says the total amount of contributions received by the Angelo campaign but not deposited, according to records, is $7,805.
"Further, there is no indication from available records that the money was used as legitimate and verifiable campaign expenses," the complaint said.
In his response, Angelo said he did not understand Vigluicci's findings on this issue.
"I have read the first allegation of the complaint and am not able to follow his calculations," Angelo wrote. "They appear not to take into consideration all contributions deposited to my campaign account."
Angelo's response says a list of deposits to the campaign account shows there were more deposits into the account than were listed on campaign finance reports.
"In cross-checking my records, my legal counsel has found that there are actually more contributions that were deposited to the campaign account than are reflected on the reports," Angelo wrote.
He added that nearly all of the discrepancies were from 1999 and that he reported them to the Trumbull County Board of Elections as amendments to his reports.
"I honestly do not know at this time how the errors occurred given that this was at least six years ago," his response stated.
Angelo was quick to remind the commission these were not the allegations he faced, and added they disprove the allegation the $7,805 was not deposited into the campaign account.
The complaint against Angelo also alleges that three checks totaling $4,100 were written from Angelo's campaign bank account to him or his wife, Toni, as loans.
According to Angelo, the checks were partial repayments on a 1996, $10,000 loan from Toni and his daughter, Alexa.
The checks made out to him were deposited into a joint account with his wife, Angelo's response says.
"This was done solely as a matter of convenience," he wrote.
He added his wife signed a receipt for the payment that was then filed with his finance report. He said documents from the committee's financial reports beginning in 1996 showed the history of the $10,000 loan.
Can't account for $2,100
Angelo admitted he could not account for a check for $2,100 written to him from the account in July 1999.
"To the best of my recollection, this also represents a payment for either money that was loaned to my committee or for campaign expenses that were paid out of pocket," the response read. "I have tried as hard as possible to recollect what loan or advance this payment was for."
He blamed the age of the incident and a flood at his home for not having documents explaining the check.
A decision on the case could come Thursday or the commission could continue the case for further review or hearings. Angelo was defeated in the 2004 Democratic primary election.