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Sammarone backer rails against Democrats

Published: Fri, April 18, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)

On the side

Hall of Fame Dinner: The Mahoning County Democratic Party’s 8th annual Hall of Fame Dinner on Thursday will honor state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, who can’t run for re-election because of term limits; retiring Judge Joseph J. Vukovich of the 7th District Court of Appeals; Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge James Evans; Claire Maluso, who worked for former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. and the city of Youngstown; and Marva Dobbs, a longtime Democratic activist.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the event starting at 6:30 p.m. The event is at the Mount Carmel Social Hall in Youngstown. Tickets are $50 each and can be obtained by calling Rick Clautti at 330-502-2997.

Should strongly anti-Democratic posts on the Facebook page of a Democratic candidate’s co-legal counsel and former business partner be considered a poor reflection on the character of that candidate?

That’s a question being raised in the Democratic primary race for Mahoning County Probate Court judge between Christopher Sammarone and Susan Maruca.

The Democratic probate race has quickly become the most contentious among those on the May 6 primary ballot.

Bryan Ridder had numerous posts on his private Facebook page that Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern described as “inflammatory” and “things that shouldn’t be associated with any candidate, much less a Democrat.”

Ridder, an attorney who shares office space with Sammarone, is co-counsel to Sammarone and his campaign and a former business partner with the candidate on a failed downtown Youngstown restaurant.

One post on Ridder’s Facebook page was a take off on the “Back to the Future” film that has Doc urging Marty McFly to go back in time to give President Barack Obama’s father a condom.

Another post had Ridder “resolve to continue fighting the facism, corruption, dishonesty and incompetence of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.”

A post called Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “dumb, ugly, dishonest.” Another had a photo of former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a homosexual, with an “I Like Weiner” button Photoshopped on his suit jacket.

There’s one that stated a man would vote Democratic for life if you give him “a welfare check, a free cellphone, food stamps, Section 8 housing [and] a six-pack of beer.”

Sammarone said he didn’t see the posts, but “it’s certainly nothing I condone or support. [Ridder’s] views are his views, and I don’t support his views on a lot of things.”

Sammarone said he was considering removing Ridder as his co-counsel, but hasn’t made a decision.

Maruca said she hasn’t seen the posts, but they sound “pretty awful.”

Ridder said the issue is being overblown by county Democratic Chairman David Betras, who was Ridder’s Facebook friend until he was blocked.

“This is another example of Betras McCarthyism,” Ridder said. “I’m a private citizen. I have a private Facebook page. I vent on politics and I have a right to do so. It’s another example of a Betras attack. He’s negative, polarizing and divisive. It has nothing to do with [Sammarone’s] qualifications for candidacy and that he’s the best candidate.”

But Ridder removed the posts.

Why? “I don’t want to hurt Chris even though it’s completely irrelevant to his campaign,” Ridder said.

Betras said: “These posts that I have seen” are “misogynistic, homophobic and do not represent the values Mahoning County Democrats hold. I think Chris Sammarone should divorce himself from being represented in his campaign by someone with these views.”

Betras pointed out that Ridder was at the county Democratic Party’s Feb. 22 endorsement meeting seeking support for Sammarone. The party endorsed Maruca.

“In this country, you’re free to believe anything you want,” Betras said. “But just don’t be a phony about it. He came to a Democratic function, and he hates Democrats.”


1TruthSeeker2000(1 comment)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

No Republican has done more to attack the Democratic Party than David Betras. He has attacked life long loyal Democrats who oppose him...Chris Sammarone and his father, Dan Yemma, remember how horribly he treated Paul Gains in his race with Betras' candidate, Jay Maceyjko, a candidate that sent a racist text and cost the City of Youngstown hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle a discrimination suit. Betras' endorsed slate looks like an all-white club, no African Americans are endorsed. And remember what Betras did to the 3 African Americans on the Party's executive committee who were fed up with the endorsement process and supported and independent African American? He kicked them off the committee and publicly humiliated them. I still remember the quote from Rev Simon about Betras. He said Betras is causing a "division in the Demccratic Party" and has "offended and outraged the African American community. And if you want to talk about misogyny/women's issues...Betras worked for his former partner, Marc Dann, in this administration...you know where sexual harassment scandals were rampant and ended up forcing Dann to resign and cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle claims.
So Betras has scoured someone's private FB page and found a few buried cartoons and posters. Skolnick states that Betras was a "friend" with Ridder...all of cartoons and posters were shared with Betras....and he had no issue with them for he never "unfriended" Ridder...now, he uses them in an underhanded attack on Chris Sammarone, who has never even seen them.
This community recently received some good news that Jim Tressel has applied for the presidency of YSU. Tressel is so well-liked because he is a positive, concerned, uplifing person who has always tried to unify and bring our community together. Compare Jim Tressel to David Betras. Betras is negative, polarizing, divisive, he attacks and drags people down...indeed David Betras is the "Anti Tressel".

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2candystriper(575 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

no, this is a personal issue...some people can not control a thought from being said or written when it is not appropriate ... the attorney removed his writings

...only Betras would exploit the disorder.

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3Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Brothers and Sisters, what is going on here! More Mahoning County racism brought to us by devil dog Betras and his friends Chuck and Chris Sammarone, and another attorney Bryan Ridder.

As a retired city hall worker we all know what a racist Chuck Sammarone was and still is, and it seems the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, does it Chris?

Isn't there a code of professional conduct that attorneys must follow? Why haven't Betras, Sammarone and Ridder had there license's taken away?

These outrageous posts and comments cannot be allowed, we must ask Sammarone to withdraw from the race, we will never stand in judgement by a man who surrounds himself with racists.

Brothers and Sisters, show them they can't get away with this and vote for Maruca. A vote for Maruca is a vote for justice.

God Bless and the fight continues!

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4Silence_Dogood(1675 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Both are not worthy of the office they seek.
Both will make the Mahoning Valley look bad in the end.

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5cardinalfan(2 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Just to be clear. If Betras had abstained from the Democratic party endorsement vote, wouldn't that have made the count 40 to 50 to 109 (assuming he voted for Maruca) ? She still received more than the 51% needed to be the endorsed candidate. As for supporting her, doesn't the chairman have to support the endorsed candidates?

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6notdownandout(7 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

M Voter, you're a white person pretending, so stop it. You're no better than Ridder.
I saw the Ridder postings, typical juvenile homophobic yuk yuk. This is what I would expect from a bunch of overgrown high school jerks. And I put the candidate Sammarone in that group.
Betras went over the top in taking down the Gilliams for not kowtowing to the party line.
Betras is party chair and he better give his all to the endorsed candidates or else he would be given the boot

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