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Run for Ligonier Township office challenged

| Thursday, March 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A Ligonier Township man who wants the Republican nomination for supervisor in the May primary is scheduled for a court hearing over a claim that he cannot run because he did not meet a deadline to file necessary paperwork.

Township residents Ronald G. Matson and Gary Thistlethwaite claim that John Beaufort's petitions “are defective and must be set aside” since he did not “timely file” his statement of financial interests as required by the state Ethics Act, according to a challenge filed in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court on Monday by attorney Michael Nestico.

Nestico claims that Beaufort “was required to complete and file a copy of the statement of financial interests with the township and “was required to do so on or before the last day for filing a petition to appear on the ‘ballot for election,' ” which was March 11.

Beaufort said he submitted his financial-interest statement to the county Election Bureau on March 11, but by the time he got to the Ligonier Township municipal building, the office was closed. Beaufort said he submitted the statement to the township the next morning.

In November, Ligonier Township voters will elect two additional supervisors; one for a five-year term and a second for a three-year term.

Last November, voters approved a ballot referendum in favor of expanding the three-member board of supervisors to five members.

According to the Election Bureau, Beaufort and Wade E. Thomas are seeking nomination for the five-year seat on the Republican ballot. Beaufort and Bruce A. Robinson are seeking the party's nomination for the three-year seat.

Albert “Mike” Shadron is the sole candidate on the Democratic ballot for both seats.

Supervisor Paul Knupp said that, according to township records, Beaufort submitted his statement of financial interests on March 12. Knupp said Thomas, Robinson and Shadron submitted their statements by March 11.

A hearing on Beaufort's nomination petition is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday before Judge Anthony G. Marsili.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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