Treasurer Yemma wins solid victory

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County Treasurer Daniel Yemma achieved a solid victory in Tuesday’s general election, in which he faced Republican Christine Lucarell Oliver in a bitterly contested race.

The vote was 61.8 percent for Yemma and 38.2 percent for Oliver.

Yemma, a Democrat, who has been treasurer for more than five years, is a former Struthers city councilman.

Despite being the early apparent winner, Yemma declined to comment until all the election results were in; and he could not be reached for comment later after the unofficial results were final.

Oliver is a licensed insurance agent, whose name became well-known because of her breach-of-contract lawsuit against Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. of Columbus, for which she is a former agent. The trial jury’s $42.8 million verdict in her favor was reduced to $2.3 million by the 7th District Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear Nationwide’s appeal.

In late October, Oliver charged that apparently inappropriate use of email on county computers occurred in the treasurer’s office.

Yemma denied behaving inappropriately in the treasurer’s office and accused Oliver of using “a tactic normally reserved for desperate candidates with a paper-thin resume.”

The emails, dating back to 2007-08, when Yemma was chief deputy treasurer, appeared to be exchanges between Yemma and a female former Struthers City Council clerk, in which they refer to nonwork activities they’d like to share in Struthers City Hall.

Oliver also cited theft and forgery of tax payment checks by a summer employee as evidence of management weakness in the treasurer’s office, but Yemma said this theft was the only problem with the treasurer’s mail since Yemma arrived there in 2007.

Yemma said his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration and his experience in banking and financial services and as a public official make him well-qualified to be county treasurer.

Oliver said her qualifications include 30 years of administrative experience and more than 25 years in the banking, insurance and financial industries.

In another race, Republican Judge Shirley J. Christian, of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, was unseated in the race, in which she was challenged by Anthony D’Apolito, a Democrat. The vote was 61.54 percent for D’Apolito to 38.46 percent for Judge Christian.

“It’s because of hard work and a lot of great supporters. I have never seen a group of people rally around a candidate and work so hard,” D’Apolito said of his victory. “I’ve always tried to make our community better. I look at the position of judge as a way to help do that, to help look at the causes of crime and to try to figure out how we can root them out and help people, how we can keep our community safe.”

Judge Christian was appointed in 2014 by Gov. John Kasich to replace Judge James C. Evans, who retired that year and died in 2015.

D’Apolito is a county juvenile court magistrate and juvenile court administrator and Poland village solicitor.

Several other Mahoning County contests featured Democratic incumbents who survived challenges by Republicans. Dr. David Kennedy got 63.35 percent of the vote to be re-elected as coroner, in a contest with Dr. John Vargo, who received 36.65 percent of the vote.

Noralynn Palermo was re-elected as recorder in a contest with Steven Carter. Anthony Vivo was easily re-elected as clerk of courts in a contest with David Shaffer.

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