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Probe won’t be done before election



Published: Fri, October 25, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

GOP chairman’s dinner: Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor will be the keynote speaker at Monday’s Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman’s Dinner.

The event starts with a social hour at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. at the Georgetown Banquet Center, 6945 South Ave. in Boardman. Tickets are $75 a person of $125 for a couple.

To make reservations, call party headquarters at 330-629-7006, send a check to Mahoning County Republican Party, P.O. Box 9012, Youngstown 44512, or by email to mark.e.munroe@gmail.com

New home: After a lifetime in Niles, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is calling Howland home. Ryan and his wife, Andrea, who he married in April, are living on Amber Drive Southeast.

Two weeks ago I wrote that all indications were that the investigation into sexual harassment claims by Lyndsey Hughes, a city council employee, against Youngstown mayoral candidate DeMaine Kitchen would be done before the Nov. 5 election.

Based on new information, it’s become apparent that the investigation will not be done by then.

First, Kitchen, who is running as an independent, said he hasn’t been contacted by Steve Sample, who is handling the investigation. Sample started the investigation Oct. 7.

For Sample — being paid $60 an hour up to $10,000 — to not even make a call to Kitchen to meet with him and answer questions indicates the investigation isn’t moving as fast as I was initially told.

Also, work to verify the authenticity of inappropriate text messages on Hughes’ cellphone supposedly sent by Kitchen is being done by an outside agency. How long that will take isn’t known, but the election is a week from Tuesday.

The investigation will play a major role in the Youngstown mayoral race, but with it not done in time for the election is also important.

Hughes’ attorneys contend that the sexual harassment of their client by Kitchen has been on and off since January 2011. Kitchen strongly denies the accusations, and says Hughes, a supporter of Democrat John A. McNally’s mayoral bid, is part of a political “machine that will stop at nothing to win this [mayoral] race.”

Hughes’ attorneys have repeatedly said politics has nothing to do with her coming forward.

Her attorneys also continue to question how the city is handling this investigation.

In an Oct. 14 letter to city Law Director Anthony Farris, Andrew L. Margolius, a Hughes’ attorney, complained that the media “is given far more information” about the investigation than he is and that some of the city’s “comments seem to be designed to influence the investigation or to protect Mr. Kitchen.”

Margolius also wrote that “we would like for the city to specify why it simply buries complaints instead of complying with its own policy,” and questioned if “there is some form of free pass for people or two free passes for important individuals?”

He also asked that a woman investigate Hughes’ complaint, and that Mayor Charles Sammarone have no involvement in the investigation.

In response, Farris wrote that Sample “is in the midst of his investigation. While I am always willing to speak to you, I do not believe it appropriate for me to respond to every question you pose until that process is completed.”

Meanwhile, on VindyRadio on Thursday, Kitchen said sexual harassment allegations from Hughes and a letter in another city employee’s personnel file that provides information on him supposedly sexually harassing another city worker have “no merit.”

The allegations are part of a plan that supposedly stretches into the Cleveland area to make sure he isn’t elected.

“There are people who benefit from Youngstown’s demise,” said Kitchen, who wouldn’t name those supposed conspirators.

Kitchen said, “I have a problem with trust. I do, almost to a fault.”

Former Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, who was supposed to withdraw from the mayoral campaign after backing Kitchen, didn’t pull out of the race in time. His name will appear on the ballot, but votes for Hughes won’t be counted.

Kitchen said “there’s a possibility” that Hughes didn’t withdraw in a timely basis as part of an organized effort to make it difficult for him to win.

“I’m a threat,” Kitchen said. Call them “conspiracies, political strategies. There are factions working hard against my campaign.”


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