Letter details sexual harassment allegations against Youngstown - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Letter details sexual harassment allegations against Youngstown mayoral candidate.

Posted: Updated:
DeMaine Kitchen DeMaine Kitchen
Lindsey Hughes Lindsey Hughes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A Youngstown city employee claims that she was the subject of unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors from DeMaine Kitchen; an independent candidate for mayor, and chief of staff to Mayor Chuck Sammarone.

The allegations are outlined in a letter to members of Youngstown city council from attorneys Andrew Margolius and Barbara Belovich who represent Lindsey Hughes.

The letter says that Hughes has experienced verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature during her tenure as Director of Downtown Events.

The letter names DeMaine Kitchen as the perpetrator.

The attorneys claim that the city first became aware of the allegations in January 2011, when Hughes complained to Chuck Sammarone, who was President of Council at the time.

According to the letter, Hughes told Sammarone about constant sexual harassment from Kitchen, which included inappropriate comments, inappropriate text messages, and rubbing part of his body against Hughes.

Hughes tells her attorneys that Sammarone responded by saying, "What do you expect, you are a pretty, young girl."

According to the letter, Sammarone called a meeting between himself, Hughes, and council member Tito Brown to discuss the allegations. Hughes said that when Kitchen appeared at the meeting, Sammarone told Kitchen to not talk or message Hughes again.

The letter alleges that when Sammarone became mayor, and Kitchen became his Chief of Staff, Kitchen would comment on Hughes' physical appearance and tell her that she was "missing out" on him.

Hughes claims that during a June meeting at city hall, Kitchen allegedly smoothed his pants to emphasize his private part, then followed her outside the building, whispering into her ear that no one needed to know.

Hughes says the incident was followed by a series of text messages attempting to promote his attraction to Hughes.

Hughes says that in July, during a closed door meeting with city council with Kitchen present, council called for the suspension of Hughes over her handling of a recent Jazz Fest in the city.

The letter says that a police investigation found no impropriety on Hughes' part.

Hughes' attorneys are asking that the city make efforts to preserve all evidence in the case.

Youngstown law director Anthony Farris says the city will appoint an investigator who will most likely be someone from outside the city to thoroughly examine the allegations

Kitchen tells 21 news that the allegations are untrue and are politically motivated.

He says Lindsey Hughes is an avid supporter of his opponent John McNally.

Kitchen says the allegations surfacing just five weeks before the election shows poor judgement by McNally and how desperate he is to win this election.

Kitchen's run for mayor has been marked by controversy.

His candidacy as an independent is being challenged by another independent candidate, Cecil Monroe, who is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to remove Kitchen's name from the November ballot, claiming that Kitchen is actually a democrat.

The political race got even more attention last month when some leaders of the local African American community made allegations that Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras employed "bullying" tactics against members of the party's Executive Committee.

During a mayoral debate, party District Leader Artis Gillam and Executive Committee members Annie Gillam and T.J. Rogers wore T-shirts supporting Kitchen's candidacy.

Betras allegedly told the three that they should give up their positions with the committee if they weren't supporting the party's endorsed candidate, John McNally.

Reverend Kenneth Simon claims Betras was harassing party leaders and is alienating blacks from the Democratic Party.

Betras is unapologetic saying that when members of the Executive Committee or District Leaders supported non-endorsed candidates in the past, he took the same action.

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