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Youngstown can’t retrieve text messages sent by DeMaine Kitchen

Published: Fri, October 11, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



The city will not be able to retrieve any text messages, including supposedly inappropriate ones, sent by DeMaine Kitchen, the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary and a mayoral candidate, to a city council employee who contends he sexually harassed her.

AT&T, the city’s cellphone company, doesn’t store text messages sent to and from their customers unless that service is specifically requested, according to the law department.

The city doesn’t use that service, which comes with a fee.

This information was provided Thursday by the law department. The Vindicator and 21 WFMJ-TV had made public-record requests to obtain copies of text messages of Lyndsey Hughes, the city’s downtown director of events, special projects and marketing, and of Kitchen.

Kitchen was asked Monday by WFMJ reporter Michelle Nicks at a candidates forum if he would provide copies of text messages and emails between him and Hughes.

Kitchen said, “It’s all public record,” and, “It’s already in the city’s possession.”

Kitchen’s work cellphone, however, hasn’t been produced. He said it was lost or stolen. Kitchen has turned in other city equipment including his vehicle and keys.

He is on a leave of absence, which started Sept. 30 and runs until Nov. 11. He’s said the leave is to concentrate on his mayoral campaign.

Attempts Thursday to reach Kitchen by The Vindicator were unsuccessful.

In a Sept. 13 letter to city Law Director Anthony Farris, Hughes’ attorneys wrote: “Kitchen sent a series of text messages attempting to explain himself and promote [legitimize] his attraction to Ms. Hughes. She ignored him.”

Hughes’ attorneys also couldn’t be reached Thursday by the newspaper to confirm the existence of the sexual text messages supposedly sent by Kitchen.

Hughes declined to provide them to The Vindicator when asked about the texts last week.

It isn’t known if Hughes or her attorneys have turned over text messages supposedly sent by Kitchen to her to Steve Sample, a retired Summit County sheriff’s deputy hired by the city to investigate her sexual harassment complaints.

This is the first time the city is hiring a non-city employee to investigate sexual-harassment complaints since council adopted a policy on the matter in 1999.

In that Sept. 13 correspondence to Farris, Hughes’ attorneys wrote that he should consider “this letter as a formal request” that the city “preserve all potentially relevant evidence in this case, including evidence that is maintained electronically or digitally,” as well as “evidence in document form.”

The attorneys also wrote the city has an obligation not to destroy or overwrite “data, including backup storage mechanisms, vis-a-vis all electronically stored data that relate to Ms. Hughes and her employment.”

Hughes contends Kitchen, a 2nd Ward councilman who left that job in August 2011 to become chief of staff/secretary to Mayor Charles Sammarone, sexually harassed her on and off since January 2011.

That includes, according to her attorneys, inappropriate comments, rubbing his genitals on her, inappropriate text messages and smoothing his pants to show his genitals to her.

Kitchen has strongly denied he ever harassed Hughes, and questions the timing — just before the Nov. 5 general election — because she is supporting Democrat John A. McNally IV for mayor.


1kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I know who I believe and it's not a room in the house. I wouldn't vote for that guy if he were the last low life in Youngstown. He's a disgrace to his race. Youngstown is "bleak" mainly because of the people who run it. There's no one to pick from. Look who is running. Maybe Crea will win after all. At least we know where he's coming from - jail.

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2mishmash(333 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

KITCHEN = his true colors are shining through.

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3Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

If they want a copy of the text messages why not just file a freedom of information request with the NSA, they have a copy of the transaction. I am sure that the NSA would help, after all it would help eliminate the opposition to a Democrat Candidate. Sort of like what the IRS was doing.

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4Jerry(845 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

All potentially good questions and points. For anyone who wants to argue these points, did you take the same stance when the exact same thing was done to Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas???

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5TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey Berger I mean Flick- Hey is this second victim of DeMain's harassment a Cafaro plant too? I mean man those Cafaros control the weather and everything. And Lower Canfield "file charges with the police" you know that sexual harassment is a civil issue right? call the police-what an ass
You sound like the same type of person who wants to beat up rape victims on the stand--the harassment was probably her fault like Sammarone said for being a pretty young girl-again ass.

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6ymjmo(1 comment)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

This lady was about to be canned for the terrible job she did at the festivals down town this summer. She held onto this case as collateral until the time was right. Now it's time to cash in.

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7kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

There's only one way to handle sexual harassment and it's not filing a civil lawsuit. Most women know ahead of time that if they are sexually harassed it's going to be called their fault for a variety of reasons. Figure it out ladies. Been there done that.

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8Ypublius(21 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"He said it was lost or stolen."...

That is the line of the article! It is the reading-between-the-lines evidence that displays that Kitchen has a serious problem and is using every tactic to survive. I have only met desperate, culpable people who begin to allege crimes/accidents to cover their own misdeeds. Add Kitchen to that list lol

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9USMC0331(152 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Where's Mr. Accountability? Sammarone is suppose to be that guy. That's the best he can come up with? You're a pretty young girl? That's great. If it was anyone else they'd be fired or forced to resign. The whole city is a joke!

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10kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Y publius you are absolutely right. In psychology terms it's called projection. You can call it any name you like but it still spells guilt. Put that excuse up there with "The dog ate my homework". Hope it wasn't an Obama phone. Then he would have REALLY lost something valuable since his integrity obviously doesn't count for much.

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11handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Youngstown basically has no candidate for Mayor. Both are totally unqualified to do the job and will only bring distrust to ( what should be ) the honorable office of Mayor.

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12pres1ton(3 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

what i don't understand is what does it matter of he doesn't have his phone. From what i know, text messages are a two way street so if i send you one it's on your phone as well. All I'm saying is that if a grown woman has the where with all to go to the mayor and say she is being harassed and he writes her off, you would think she would keep record of these alleged misdoings just in case. but again, I'm just saying

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