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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

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

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.


Comments

1highpoint(34 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Is this GUY Serious? HaHa, Youngstown, another IDIOT in the Political Mix. Why aren't these people in JAIL? They repeatedly flaunt the Law, and their excuse???? Ooops, is this illegal? Haha... Well, someone smarter than me once said, " In a democracy, the people always get what they deserve!" And you got it!

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2highpoint(34 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh, Betras... he tries to explain... and its better than Ricky Riccardo... "Oh Lucy Lucy, lemme explain..." These folks are a disaster! You know, folks, we could be a great place to live and work, but, this stuff makes us into a JOKE for anyone who even considers us for the future. Hey VINDI, where is the Ink?

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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4questionreality(229 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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5Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought The Honorable Sammarones were quick to send allegations to the Ohio Ethics Commission.Why not this one ???

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6JS(626 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps it wasn't former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone's money. It could be that he was simply handing it off for someone with deep pockets.

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7johnyoung(241 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Anyone who has known Chuck Sammarone longer than 10 minutes knows that he does not give anything to anyone, unless there is something in it for him. So the question is: What was he getting in exchange for the $4,000.00? In other words, what was the 'quid pro quo?

Since this matter involved a sitting Youngstown mayor, and a city employee, it is a no brainer that the matter should be referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission for further investigation. For McNally to say that he could not care less about it is just plain wrong. He and the City Prosecutor should call for a full investigation.

Given the Vindicator's cozy relationship with Sammarone, it will also be interesting to hear their editorial position on this.

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8JustThink123(27 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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9lovethiscity(145 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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10eevo(51 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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

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112muchtax(312 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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12eevo(51 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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

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13Joe6pack(52 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Poor pitiful Betras, he only has a few days of freedom left and he still wants to act high and mighty. When will these people learn?

Chuck needs to get Chris out of that probate race before he ends up in jail with his "legal team" that thinks they can get around campaign finance laws. Alan and John we know your plan!

Can't anyone around here follow the law?

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14eevo(51 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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15thinkthentalk(259 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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

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16Petunia(27 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Shame on you, Chuck. A City Hall employee told me that you would not award a demo contract for the Wean Building until you knew "what was in it for you". Is that why the contract was finally awarded only weeks before the election. Between you and Bob Busch, I think the 2 of you have held almost every job in City Hall, except fire chief. Its a shame the mayor is not paid by the hour and required to punch a time card. How many hours a week was the City paying you to play racquetball?

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17Petunia(27 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't it a hoot that Chuck's platform in office was accountability. Chuck, how did you account for your hours each week. And how about the appointment of Chris' buddy Robert Rohrbaugh? That was definitely not based on experience or integrity in the profession. What other favors were handed out which never hit the media?

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18Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The apple does not fall far from the tree....

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19rickking123(288 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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20GeorgeinYoungstown(76 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

There's another solution: Quit voting for the ol boyz and, instead, vote for people of integrity like a Susie B. There's no law saying you have to vote either Dem or Repub. Vote Green Party and maybe, just maybe, we can move forward in this City/Valley...

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21Silence_Dogood(1333 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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

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22vinglass(227 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks 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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23Joe6pack(52 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey dumbdem / TERRINPINST aka Dave Betras!

It's funny how you believe that everyone who tells the truth about you is "Oz". What does Oz know that makes you so nervous? If Oz is the person to take you down he will be my hero!

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24listener(107 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree Oz is the good guy, Betras is scum.

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25listener(107 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Did anyone else know about an investigation at the Board of Elections? Thanks for letting us know Dave, er I mean dumbdem. If you aren't Betras why do you care what Joe6pack says?

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26JRBYoungstown(44 comments)posted 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I can recall going to the Y at noon on a wendesday and seeing "mayor" Sammarone working out instead of running the city. I thought to myself, Sammarone must have made the city perfect by 11am, patted himself on the back and spent the rest of the day playing handball. Son Chris was spending the afternoon giving away free drinks at that train wreck he called "Dooney's" to all his buddies. We wont mention that the taxpayers bought those beers!

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27TERRAPINST(302 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks 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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28L0L(648 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Sammarone just grow a pair and say that you gave Kitchen $4k because you wanted him to win. Not you don't get involved yet you donate money. Or you support McNally but you gave Kitchen money. Typical politicians.

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29USMC0331(150 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks 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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30INTEL(62 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago

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

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31Hmmmmm(48 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe Atty Chris Sammarone will file a complaint with The Ohio Ethics Commission regarding this cash donation and his father the former Youngstown mayor

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32kurtw(846 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks 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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