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Petersen withdraws challenge to Schultz's Trafford council candidacy

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Trafford Council contender withdrew her challenge of Councilman Henry Schultz's primary candidacy last week, which leaves five Democrats on the May ballot for four nominations.

Cheryl Petersen, who serves on the borough recreation board, said she dropped the case in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court on March 25 because county officials permitted Schultz to amend his statement of financial interests and nominating petition.

Petersen and Schultz are joined on the Democratic ballot by incumbent Councilmen Casey Shoub and John Race and newcomer Peter J. Ledwich.

In a court filing, Petersen said Schultz submitted an incomplete financial statement; specifically, she pointed out that he didn't check the box indicating that he is a candidate or specify his income during 2012. She also said Schultz didn't list the “electoral district” of Trafford on a nominating petition.

Petersen had asked that Schultz's candidacy be disqualified because of what she called “defective” paperwork.

But recent state Supreme Court rulings have permitted a timely filer of a financial statement to amend his form to come into full compliance. In a 2007 case, the court said that reasoning gave “the public both the benefit of full financial disclosure and the broadest choice of representatives.”

Schultz called Petersen's petition “a cheap attempt” to have him removed from the ballot.

“Cheryl Petersen should stick to the issues, like her lack of any government business (or) any public-works experience,” Schultz said in an email. “I run on my record in Trafford, and that's all.”

Within the past 16 months, Petersen twice applied for council vacancies. In December 2011, council chose Schultz over Petersen and another resident to replace Marco Bortoluzzi.

Petersen said council members say they to do everything “by the book,” so she thought the challenge was warranted.

“I (applied) twice, and they turned me down,” Petersen said. “This time, I'm fighting them, so we'll see what happens.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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