Primary challenges awaiting court action
Attorneys and clients in two Mon-Yough municipalities are waiting for Commonwealth Court to act on appeals in Democratic primary ballot challenges.
Staff at the appeals court's Harrisburg office said Tuesday they received all the required paperwork in Liberty and Clairton challenges.
In Liberty, South Allegheny High School teacher Mark A. Suckfiel is trying to remove incumbent S. Larry Sikorski.
In Clairton, incumbent Richard Lattanzi is trying to remove Councilman Richard Ford III from the mayoral ballot.
The issue in both municipalities is the statement of financial interest. Suckfiel alleged that Sikorski failed to file it on time with borough officials, while Lattanzi alleged that Ford did not file a proper statement.
Commonwealth Court also received trial court records from Allegheny County, where Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James ruled that Sikorski and Ford could remain on their respective May 21 ballots.
On Tuesday the appeals court received a supplemental record of trial court documents and a transcript in the Lattanzi-Ford case.
Lattanzi's Mt. Lebanon attorney Glenn A. Smith contended that Ford owed money to the city of Clairton, Clairton City School District, Clairton Reinvestment Corp. and the Internal Revenue Service.
Ford, who is represented by Clairton attorney Burrell A. Brown, amended his statement as ordered by James.
He listed all those entities as creditors, but listed the federal tax lien and the obligation to CRC “under protest,” adding the statute of limitations had expired on the CRC claim.
Smith said Ford is trying to deceive the voters.
James said the citizens of Clairton are aware of Ford's obligations and overruled Lattanzi's objections to Ford's run for mayor.
Liberty's filings occurred a business day ahead of the Clairton filings, with the last filings taking place on Friday.
McKeesport attorney J. Jason Elash represents Suckfiel, while White Oak attorney Matthew D. Racunas represents Sikorski.
Suckfiel challenged Sikorski over his alleged failure to file a statement of financial interest, also known as an ethics statement, for a proper time stamp in the Liberty borough office.
Sikorski said he submitted a statement in time, but that it became lost behind file cabinets, a claim disputed by other borough officials.
“If it had been there I would have asked for a copy of it,” borough secretary-treasurer Debbie Helderlein testified before James.
Sikorski remarked after James ruled in his favor that he had the entire borough against him.
Elash, a former Liberty solicitor, had current borough solicitor George Gobel as his co-counsel before James, while Racunas was assisted by attorney Kristin Mackulin.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nonprofit helps police keep wanderers safe in Mon-Yough area
- McKeesport Area communications specialist develops mobile app
- Propel evaluates standards
- Duquesne City School District receiver accepts $1.335M interest-free loan
- Negotiator hopeful in East Allegheny teacher talks
- Mon-Yough agencies providing services for the homeless to benefit from HUD funds
- Liberty public servant Owens remembered as problem solver
- Munhall repeals its lost or stolen gun ordinance
- South Allegheny school board makes personnel moves
- Lebanon Road businesses feel pinch from another road project
- Attempted homicide charge dropped, others remain in Glassport stabbing