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Clairton, Liberty election challenges scheduled to continue in state court

| Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 2:11 a.m.

Election challenges in Clairton and Liberty will continue in Commonwealth Court.

Appeals have been made to the state court by attorneys for Liberty council candidate Mark A. Suckfiel against incumbent S. Larry Sikorski, and for Clairton Mayor Richard Lattanzi against challenger Richard Ford III.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James overruled objections aimed at keeping Ford and Sikorski off the May 21 ballot.

“We felt it was bad law,” Suckfiel's attorney J. Jason Elash said on Monday night.

Elash said Sikorski had no witnesses to his claim that a statement of financial interest was lost behind a Liberty borough office filing cabinet, and that James' ruling was “not in conformity with past court decisions.”

Sikorski's attorney Matthew D. Racunas declined comment.

Lattanzi's attorney Glenn A. Smith continued to press the argument that Ford, a city councilman, failed to disclose all his tax liens, including a reputed obligation to the Internal Revenue Service, on an amended statement of financial interest.

“The statement is a list of creditors,” James ruled on April 3. “The citizens of Clairton know he owes that money and he's listed it.”

Ford's attorney Burrell A. Brown declined comment, saying he had not seen Smith's appeal.

Dates and times for hearings on the appeals, scheduled before Commonwealth Court judges in Pittsburgh, were not available at presstime. Elash said attorneys have a Friday deadline to file briefs with the state court.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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