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Late report from candidate Kitchen shows $10K from ex-GOP chair, wife

Published: Fri, March 7, 2014 @ 12:07 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Almost three months after the deadline, failed Youngstown mayoral candidate DeMaine Kitchen filed a post-general-election campaign-finance report.

The report shows Kitchen, an independent candidate, raised $26,975 between Oct. 9 and Nov. 3, 2013, with $10,000 of it coming from former Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Clarence R. Smith and his wife, Rose. Kitchen received $5,000 from the Smiths on Oct. 21 and a second $5,000 payment Oct. 27.

Clarence R. Smith gave $20,000 to Jay Williams on Oct. 21, 2005, during his successful independent run for Youngstown mayor in 2005.

Kitchen lost to Democrat John A. McNally in the Nov. 5, 2013, general election by more than 11 percentage points.

Kitchen was supposed to file this finance report no later than Dec. 13, 2013, with the Mahoning County Board of Elections. It was filed Tuesday.

Kitchen couldn’t be reached Thursday by The Vindicator to comment. But Diane Raptis, the board of elections’ clerk who is in charge of campaign- finance reports, said Kitchen told her he filed late because he “had a hardship” and “wasn’t working in town.”

Besides being late, Kitchen’s report shows a $4,000 cash contribution Oct. 27 from Charles Sammarone, then the mayor of Youngstown who employed Kitchen as his chief of staff/secretary.

State law doesn’t permit cash contributions of more than $100.

The board of elections sent a letter to Kitchen on Wednesday that his campaign had 21 days to refund $3,900 to Sammarone, who now is city council president, or the matter would be referred to the Ohio Elections Commission.

In this situation, the commission could fine a candidate up to $11,700, three times the $3,900 amount that exceeds the maximum cash contribution limit, but that is unlikely for a first-time offender, said Philip C. Richter, the commission’s executive director.

Also, the commission has no authority to compel the candidate to refund the money to the donor, Richter said.

Sammarone said Thursday that he gave cash to Kitchen, but didn’t immediately recall the amount.

Another monetary issue with Kitchen’s report is he withdrew $1,500 from his account on the day of the election to pay people to work polling locations and to drive voters to those locations, Raptis said.

A candidate is not permitted to do that, but there is nothing that can be done to rectify that situation, Raptis said.

Between July 1 and Dec. 6, McNally raised $94,745 compared with $38,785 for Kitchen. McNally also raised $131,854 for the May 2013 Democratic primary. Kitchen had $143 in his campaign fund when he started raising money last July.

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