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The more things change ...



Published: Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

With the resignation of Lisa Antonini as Mahoning County treasurer because of a federal criminal charge and pending conviction, the county Democratic Party needs to fill that vacancy with a qualified and stable replacement.

You don't need financial experience to be county treasurer, but with the Antonini scandal, the party should appoint the best candidate.

Among the three who've already applied, Kenneth A. Carano is the favorite.

He is a former state representative and official in the ex-Gov. Ted Strickland administration. Carano is also the party's executive vice chairman, its parliamentarian, and elections committee chairman as well as someone trusted by many precinct committee members.

Carano’s decision will probably scare off other candidates and with his political connections, Carano will likely win.

Interestingly, Antonini was appointed treasurer by Democratic precinct committee members in 2007 largely because of her political connections. She was the party’s chairwoman at the time, and ran unopposed.

Antonini had experience in the office, serving as chief deputy treasurer. Though, in hindsight, that didn’t work out.

Lisa Antonini, disgraced ex-Mahoning County treasurer and chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party, is “sincerely sorry for having let so many people down.”

It doesn’t matter whether Antonini is sincere or is only sorry because she got busted. She has brought more embarrassment to an area that is seen as a haven for political corruption.

It’s not perception, folks. It’s reality, and it’s likely to get worse.

Wait for the Oakhill corruption case to get going. We’ll likely hear plenty more about political corruption in the county, and how those with money don’t just buy things, they buy people.

This area’s long history of political corruption hasn’t changed. It’s not in the past or behind us. It’s still here. Only the names are different.

Antonini was charged with taking and failing to report a $3,000 cash contribution during her primary for county treasurer in 2008.

Federal prosecutors kindly provided a road map allowing us to figure out who gave her the money.

Prosecutors gave the date of when Antonini received the illegal contribution and that the unidentified local businessman who gave her the $3,000 also wrote her campaign a $200 check the same day.

“In exchange, Antonini continued to support the businessman’s interests and understood she would take official action on his behalf if opportunities arose,” prosecutors wrote in a bill of information released Monday.

To no one’s surprise, that person is Anthony Cafaro Sr., a once-prominent businessman who faces a laundry list of charges in the Oakhill case accusing him of bribing current and former county officeholders.

Cafaro’s brother, J.J. is a two-time convicted felon, and his sister, Flora, is accused of money laundering.

As for Antonini, it’s hard to believe she threw away a comfortable political career for $3,000.

Her finance reports show she raised more than $75,000 in legitimate contributions for her 2008 campaign. Antonini’s annual salary as treasurer was $68,275.

Because she’s cooperating with the feds, Antonini only has to plead guilty to one felony count for illegally taking $3,000.

She’ll avoid prison time and probably pay a modest fine. The only good that can comes from this is if Antonini can provide prosecutors with enough information to convict others of being dirty.

Unfortunately, that will probably only slow down the corruption in this area for a while.

While some local Democrats are trying to excuse away Antonini’s loathsome behavior, county Republicans aren’t holding back their criticism.

One email I received came from James Shaw, director of political affairs for the county’s Young Republicans.

“The Democrats have had their turn. Now it’s [the Republicans’] turn,” he naively wrote.

You don’t get turns in politics.

You seize opportunities, something Mahoning County Republicans have repeatedly failed to do.


Comments

1Kernaloftruth(85 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, if Mr. Skolnick would like to educate us Republicans with his vast political knowledge and know how on how to win in Mahoning County, by all means give us the secret of "seizing opportunity".

Seeing as how all Mr. Skolnick does is play Monday morning quarterback on what we SHOULD HAVE done, without probably being in a single campaign for a Republican candidate here and seeing the realities we face first hand (including dealing with a paper that never gives us a fair shake when we DO try and seize opportunity), I suppose Mr. Skolnick's naïve viewpoint is typical of yet another person who has never been in the game here.

At least Mr. Shaw is trying. But please do not make me Monday morning quarterback all of the felons the Vindicator has endorsed, because I don't think anyone has the time to sit here all day and go through them.

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2m8ke_the_call(105 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I have to agree with kernaloftruth.

Its funny you call him naive when your paper has endorsed multiple felons for office. If anything you are naive for thinking that anyone takes you seriously anymore.

I searched their facebook and found the full press release. You are dishonest for what you took out of it.

http://www.facebook.com/notes/mahonin...

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3outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

The Republicans have had plenty of opportunities to take office. For example, Mike Sciortino could have been taken out of office last year and the only candidate the Republicans could come up with was Tracy Winbush?

There's only a one party system here because the leaders of the Republicans are happy with the deals they have cut with the Democrats (except Betras, no one can deal with him unless your name is Cafaro).

The Dems are ripe for being taken out, but that won't happen because of the deals that are in place.

So if you are a Republican and want to see change, first get rid of Smith and Munroe, then find some candidates that have money and you will win some races.

If Smith and Munroe stay you don't have a chance of winning anything.

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4Kernaloftruth(85 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't think Mr. Skolnick has the stones to run as a Republican in Mahoning County.

If it is as easy as seizing opportunity, put your money where your mouth is and prove it. I don't see you out there banging the war drum for local Republicans. When you have actually been a candidate or have run a race for a Republican, come back and talk to us then.

And I don't want to hear any talk about there not being qualified candidates, because in 2010 I recall your paper giving the shaft to the local state rep and state senate candidates, the former of which your paper would not even give the courtesy of granting an endorsement interview. Probably because you would be faced with endorsing someone other than Ron Gerberry and the thought of it was too much to bear.

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5Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Her behavior isnt as loathsome as you making people watch you twitch while they eat.

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6m8ke_the_call(105 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

outsideobserver;

I am sorry but you are very wrong with your perceptions. The GOP does NOT cut deals with the dems. Thats the end fo the story. I also have to question your knowledge of things because smith retired over a year ago and has not been involved much in the party; he's not even the current chairman.

If the Republicans were happy with how things are going why would we keep fighting? Did you miss the 2010 elections were they had two VERY qualified candidates running for the General Assembly?

If you really want to see any change get involved and help drive it instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining.

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7outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

m8ke_the_call.

Smith sits on the Board of Elections and is still very involved in what happens, and I'm talking about local elections.

I'm a Dem, don't sit on the sidelines and am happy you guys lose all the time.

Just giving some free advice on what you need to do to even begin to have a chance in local elections.

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8m8ke_the_call(105 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Also they arent going to get rid of Munroe; he is already proving that he is willing (and already involved in) taking the fight to Betras. Munroe is actively working to expand the party (which cant be said about his predecessor) and get things done. So sorry not going to take a Dems advice on that :)

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9outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Munroe is a tool owned by Smith.

Anyone can fight with Betras since he can't keep his mouth shut.

Hey if you guys want to keep losing elections that's fine with me.

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10Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

m8ke_the_call:
Yes they do cut deals. Republican named Dog Warden by 3 Democratic Commissioners. Mark Munroe's son worked in Sciortino's office. George Hunter (Scott's Brother) hired by DATA Board...oh uh yeah you sound like you really got this thing figured out.

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11Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

@ outsideobserver:

I totally agree with your #8 comment.

Well said. Well spoken.

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12Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Sonny Smith is one of the Valley's leading contributors to democratic Candidates.
Askmeificare it looks like you "cared" about 324 comments worth.

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13Kernaloftruth(85 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

@Outside

Forgive me, but the Democratic Party doesn't know how to run an election. If we had an even playing field, I'd put the Republican workers against the Democrat ones every day of the week, because we know what it is like to bust our backs. All the Democrats know is to slap a D on their name and win.

And dog warden? Oh yeah, there is a real dealbreaker for all future and past elections. But only a partisan within the county system would know about the Data Board and those kinds of jobs, so I wonder who it is we are talking to on this site.

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14Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Flagg, Col. Sam Flagg. Everyone knows this. I just chack with public records before I speak. Its reall easy would you like me to tell you how to get to the Auditors Office? Might be a struggle once there though....you wouldnt believe it EVERYTHING is computerized.

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15outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Rumor has it Yemma and the Republican, Lisa Oles have both dropped out of the race.

Republicans won't be able to take this seat from Carano.

Would you like some cheese with that wine? LOL!!!

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16m8ke_the_call(105 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Oles isnt a Republican. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

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17Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Carano can have the seat if he wants it, but in time, the same old recycled politicians are going to go. And with the exception of Joe Schiavoni, I am not seeing a whole lot of new talent rising in the ranks.

If I recall correctly, I don't think the Democrats wanted Schiavoni in the first place, which is probably why I have more respect for him than most.

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18Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

You mean the Cafaro's handpicked boy. I like Joe but question his ability to do simple math. Never ceases to amaze me how no one commented on the fact that this was Capri's handpicked boy. Oh I get it.. sometimes the Cafaros are okay if they pick who I like.

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19author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

The Republican Party under Smith and Munroe is the right wing of the local Democratic Party. In 2000, Smith and Munroe DID everything they could to work with the Democrats to defeat a very strong slate of Republican candidates in the general election. That slate stood for everything Smith and Munroe is against - #1 they didn't take money from Smith. #2 they were united against the sales tax until real reforms were brought to county government. #3 - they believed in implementing the Peat Marwick report on county government.

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