Daniel Yemma, one of the three Mahoning County Democrats recommended by the party for appointment to the soon-to-be-vacant 33rd District state Senate seat, strongly denied allegations that he used his government computer to send "inappropriate emails."
And, Yemma, chief deputy treasurer of Mahoning County and a councilman-at-large in Struthers, said he would have no objections to Treasurer Lisa Antonini or Prosecutor Paul Gains investigating the allegations contaned in an anonymous letter. The letter was circulated shortly after Yemma's name was one of the three submitted by the county Democratic Party to the Democratic caucus in the Ohio Senate. The other two are Atty. David Engler, former county commissioner and a member of the county board of education, and Robert Lidle, Poland Township trustee.
Some members of Struthers council have charged that Yemma exchanged the e-mails with former clerk of council Toni Constantino. The substance of the e-mails was not addressed.
During an appearance Saturday morning on "The Valley's Talkin,'" a talk show on 1330 Talk WGFT-AM hosted by Dr. William Binning and this writer, Yemma insisted that the anonymous letter is without foundation. He denied he did anything wrong and contended that he is the target of a political smear.
Engler and Lidle also are being forced to address issues of a negative nature. Both have publicly talked about them. Lidle appeared on the radio program with Yemma and discussed his DUIs; Engler, who was not able to make the show, has acknowledged the public reprimand he received from the Ohio Supreme Court for engaging in a sexual relationship with a client. Even though the relationship was consensual, the justices ruled that he had violated the code of professional responsibility.
All three candidates are prepared to defend themselves when they appear before Democats in the Senate. The seat is being vacated by John Boccieri, who is on his way to Congress. The district includes all of Mahoning and Carroll counties and portions of Stark and Tuscarawas counties. Mahoning accounts for almost 80 percent of the district's population.