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Ex-mayor Sammarone says he should have known better

Published: Sat, March 8, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

Should have known $4,000 cash donation exceeded law, he says

By David Skolnick



Former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone said he should have known better than to give $4,000 in cash to DeMaine Kitchen, an independent candidate for mayor.

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

The Oct. 27, 2013, contribution from Sammarone, then the outgoing Democratic mayor, to Kitchen, then his chief of staff/secretary, was listed on the latter’s post-general election campaign-finance report filed Tuesday, almost three months after it was due.

When asked why he gave $4,000 in cash to Kitchen, Sammarone said Friday, “I don’t know why. That’s the way it was.”

Sammarone, elected in November 2013 as city council president, said he “should have paid attention” to the state law on a cash-limit contribution, “but I didn’t. I should have known it, particularly with how long I’ve been in politics.”

He added: “Whatever I need to do to rectify it, I will do.”

Sammarone said Kitchen also should have been aware of the improper cash contribution. But he pointed out that Kitchen didn’t try to hide the cash contribution as he listed it on his campaign finance report.

Kitchen, who lost the mayoral election to Democrat John A. McNally, has not returned numerous phone calls and text messages from The Vindicator since Dec. 2, the day he resigned as chief of staff/secretary.

A report, released four days after Kitchen’s resignation, from a retired Summit County sheriff’s detective hired by the city, concluded Kitchen sexually harassed a city employee.

Despite the $4,000 cash contribution, Sammarone said, “I try not to get into other people’s elections.”

Sammarone declined to answer how he could say that while giving $4,000 to Kitchen, and referred further questions to Bryan Ridder, his attorney.

“These are legal issues and I’m not a lawyer,” Sammarone said. “These are legal questions I don’t know about.”

Ridder couldn’t be reached Friday by this newspaper to comment.

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said Sammarone recently told him that he supported McNally in the November mayoral election.

“That’s contradictory to what he did” by giving $4,000 to Kitchen, Betras said. “He told me two weeks ago he believes in the Democratic Party, he’s a true Democrat, and he supported John. I didn’t see that donation going to John. It went to the independent candidate.”

Also, Betras said, “He shouldn’t be giving cash out. I don’t know how many times I’ve told people to not accept cash. All [Sammarone] had to do was go to the bank and get a cashier’s check.”

When told of Betras’ statement questioning his support of McNally, Sammarone said, “That’s his opinion.”

Betras said, “It is not my opinion. It’s what that man told me.”

McNally said, “Personally, I could care less about [Sammarone’s] contribution or who he supported in the campaign. I’m the mayor and I have more important issues than that stuff.”

But McNally added, “I was very surprised by the contribution amount.”

The Mahoning County Board of Elections sent a letter to Kitchen on Wednesday that his campaign had 21 days to refund $3,900 to Sammarone or the matter would be referred to the Ohio Elections Commission.

The commission could fine a candidate up to three times the amount that exceeds the maximum cash contribution limit, but that isn’t likely for a first-time offender, said Philip C. Richter, the commission’s executive director.

That would be $11,700 in this case.

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


1author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Sammarone walks around with a lot of cash in his pocket. Guess it pays BIG TIME to be Council President for Life after a few twists and turns as Mayor and Water Commissioner.

Then again, maybe the $4,000.00 was payback from his son Chris for the $20,000.00 in taxpayer money that Chuck voted on while he was mayor so Chris could open up the failed Dooneys? Maybe Chris thought with all the negative publicity surrounding judicial candidates of late (Chris is running for probate judge in the democratic primary) he should payback the 'loan' to the city?

Isn't it funny that Chuck's lawyer is Chris' partner in the aforementioned failed bar business -- Bryan Ridder?

Chuck sure does forget a lot. $4,000.00 cash contributions, who he supported or didn't support for mayor, sexual harassment under his watch, jack-booted thug tactics by his personal goon on the police squad Ron Mercer under his watch, tearing down structures without due process of law under his watch, etc.

With a memory like that it is no wonder he is the Council President for Life in the City of Youngstown.

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2questionreality(728 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I thought judges sent other judges, etc to jail to deter others from doing these things....

I predict a bds column with a long list of those who said, "I should have known better."

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3NoBS(2757 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The honorable thing would be for Sammarone to step down. In shame. Will he? Any bets?

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4DontBanThisDrone(1036 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

He broke the law, so where are the charges?


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5republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Betras, Belinkey, Engler, Sammarone (father and son), Kitchen, Gilliam, Antonini, Dann -----

All crooked, incompetent, and all for themselves,
men, women, white, black and All DEMOCRATS and ALL endorsed by the Vindicator.

Gee, if only we had a new, fresh, improved way of thinking.

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6JustThink123(27 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Can Youngstown City Council members be any more of a joke? I have a great idea, we reduce the salary of each member by 25%, we eliminate two ward positions and eliminate Sammarones position. Then we force each member to run again in November so people can get rid of these self serving useless money grabbers.

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7Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

This is outrageous.

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8lovethiscity(169 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Flat out no way would Chuckie give up $4000 of HIS own money to Kitchen. Anyone who knows him will tell you that. So who gave him the money?

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9eevo(51 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Harry Reid won't let Sammarone vote! He used his EBT card to donate to Kitchen.

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102muchtax(895 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Kitchen is a pervert, the other guy was in jail, and McNally has ties to carfaro how could it gat any worse? Finally have a decent sheriff and county engineer and this DB Rick Sandburg files union grievances against them! Way too many of that DH betras boys in office!

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11eevo(51 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

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

There should be a congressional hearing on the Liar. If you follow the money, I'm sure Kitchen was an attempted Obama left wing extremist plant orchestrated by George Soros.

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13thinkthentalk(310 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Why does Youngstown pay $37 a ton for road salt, and everybody else pays $27? mmm...

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14republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

How about him hiring Clacko to fix traffic lights and the guy never showed for work and is always screwing off. Another hack hire the city will have to put up with.

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15rickking123(330 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe Chuckie should have turned on that paper weight/computer on his desk to see what the contribution limits were.

I imagine Boardman Jeff will say this is just another shining example of what the Democrats have done for this area. Chuckie S. was just helping with the election process.

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16Silence_Dogood(1669 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it was an envelope from Belmont Ave., you know the one with no interest and no payback schedule.

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17vinglass(295 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Are you implying that the 4,000.00 came from the honorable Anthony Cafaro?? Oh my!! Now that the Avalon Gardens is closed, goodness knows how they will pass the money to the politicians.

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18TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

My theory: Flick=Valley Politics=Jo6pack. Superman theory never post during the same period of time. Could be Oz could be Berger. Not certain both equally obsessed with things they fail at or bear no influence on.

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19USMC0331(152 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm gonna go with, some of the $4,000 was from other dept heads in a very sad attempt to keep their positions. The police chief and a few more. Too bad it didn't work and the sorry saps that tried it got what they had coming to them. I've never seen someone so interested in keeping a job before simply for the power. The police dept was a joke and thank god for McNally and Chief Lees. The problem that plagued the dept is gone and all the remaining Dbags will be slowly weeded out. Way to go Mr. Accountability. JOKE

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20INTEL(62 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

these politicians are nothing but a bunch of whores... trying to sell themselves... plain and simple...

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21kurtw(1758 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Comment 29 cracks me up! That bit about who is the "real" Dave Betras. I just posted about one of Todd Franko's latest columns: "Today I resubscribed to the Vindicator" in which I said that I preferred the Vindy Message Board to that of the Tribune Chronicle because:

"But, the real clincher, for me, in picking you over the Trib, is that with your message board I get to try to guess which of your commentators is actually Dave Betras! I know he's out there somewhere- commenting- and I have a pretty good idea of his pen name- based on the prose style, choice of words, etc.- but I won't say who. I'm sure somebody who knows him will let the cat out of the bag soon- as I'm sure Dave, vain as he is, won't be able to resist bragging about it."

"Dave, vain as he is, won't be able to resist bragging about it"- there's the key- the guy is in love with himself- anybody who has to stop in front of every mirror to comb his hair has to be.

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