Mahoning Sheriff asking BCI to investigate campaign finance alle - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mahoning Sheriff asking BCI to investigate campaign finance allegations

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

The Mahoning County Sheriff's Office is deferring to a higher power on the investigation into Dominic Leone's campaign finances. 

Sheriff Jerry Greene told 21 News that his office has sent a letter to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, asking them to look into allegations of wrongdoing on behalf of the Struthers Municipal Judge-Elect Dominic Leone. 

Late Tuesday afternoon, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a letter to the Board of Elections stating that it was his opinion that the Sheriff's Office should investigate. 

Less than 24 hours before the election early last month, the Mahoning County Board of elections cast a vote on whether or not they should forward complaints to the Sheriff's office. 

The allegations were set forward in two affidavits alleging campaign finance irregularities of Dominic Leone, a candidate for Struthers Municipal Court Judge. 

Both of the affidavits were filed in October, just weeks before the election. 

In one, a woman claiming to be Leone's former campaign Treasurer states that he asked her for a $600 loan, rather than a donation. 

That woman also claimed that Leone threatened her, should she reveal that he allegedly used illicit drugs. 

A second complaint, filed by a woman who says she had a "personal relationship" with Leone, says "4. I have firsthand knowledge of several illegal contributions to Dominic Leone. 5. Each of these illegal donations were deliberately covered up and hidden from the campaign team by Dominic Leone and not documented properly." 

The second complaint also alleges that Leone used illicit drugs.

Board Members Wasko and Betras voted against the motion. 

Ohio's Revised Code dictates that in the event of a tie vote, the Secretary of State must break the tie. 

Husted, in a letter to the board, said "I received a tie vote statement only from the board members voting in favor of the motion, Chairman Munroe and Board Member Winbush. Board Members Wasko and Betras did not submit arguments supporting their position reportedly because they believe that the election of Mr. Leone moots the allegation of irregularity."

Tuesday evening, Betras told 21 News he feels the investigation is a waste of tax payer dollars.

"It's fake news. They did it to try and get political advantage and now they're going to have egg on their face," said Betras.

Munroe said, "We simply felt that it was appropriate for the sheriff to take a look at these allegations. Partly because of the history of Mahoning County." 

In a response to the media, Leone said, "I am convinced and confident that the affidavits, both of which contain myriad false statements, were created and filed for purely political purposes."  He went on to say, "Both their content and the timing of their releases were designed to wreak havoc in this important race immediately prior to election day."

Leone currently serves at the Law Director for the City of Struthers. 

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