Yesterday, the SCPR received a press release from the Alan Harold campaign for Stark County auditor.
It appears that Harold has chosen to run against Stark County Auditor Kim Perez on the basis of dated campaign contributions (see below) that Perez has received from Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo (he resigned from office on Thursday, the same day he was indicted on 21 criminal counts in a federal corruption investigation).
Speculation in the Cleveland area is running high that Dimora will be next to be indicted.
Obviously, Harold has concluded that the marrying Perez to Russo and Dimora is his path to victory in November.
He offers a redemption to Auditor Perez, return the money, Harold says.
The SCPR has this question of candidate Harold. If Perez does return the money, or, perhaps alternative donates to his favorite charity a like amount, will Harold issue a follow up press release delivering a political absolution to him?
It is likely that Harold has taken his cue from the obvious revolution of Stark Countians at developments in the Stark County treasury which resulted in the conviction and sentencing (10 years) of Stark Countian Vince Frustaci who as former chief deputy stole $2.4 million of Stark County taxpayer money. In fact, Harold, in his communique, references Frustaci's contribution to Perez of a total of $350 over three years (2005 - 2008). A little bit more of mud throwing, no?
It was surprising to see that Harold did not bring up what the SCPR believes to be Perez's main failure in the Frustaci matter: the failure to follow through to track down why there were discrepancies in account balances between the Stark treasury and auditor's office during Frustaci's employment at treasury.
The Report believes that Perez should have used his leverage with former Treasurer Gary Zeigler (whom commissioners forced out of office on August 23rd) to obtain copies of original bank records from FirstMerit Bank when there were account imbalances. Many Stark County political insiders widely believed Auditor Perez and Zeigler to be close personal and political friends prior to April 1, 2009, the day Zeigler fired Frustaci. Why didn't Perez lean on Zeigler to go to FirstMerit with him and authorize the release of banking records?
For his part, Perez promotes his accomplishments as auditor and expresses his desire to stay in office in order to complete unfinished projects.
From his website comes his list accomplishment, to wit:
• revising the appraisal process to value property at the neighborhood level rather than the prior district model for better accuracy.
• correcting the Homestead Exemption program that illegally removed seniors/disabled from the program who failed to return their continuing form.
• modernizing all computer systems (some go back to the 1970’s) to revolutionize the office with technology for greater accuracy and more efficiency, saving vital tax dollars. This modernization extends throughout county government by virtue of his role as Chief Administrator of the county IT department and GIS.
Perez has been auditor since 2004. From 1994 to 2004 he was Canton auditor and before that (1988-1994) Canton Ward 1 councilman.
Alan Harold was a guest of the Stark County Republican Executive Committee on Wednesday night as committee members gathered to select a candidate to run to replace Zeigler.
Committee members were excited to hear Harold as they seem to sense that he will be a winner in November. And they could be right on the mark.
This 2010 auditor contest will be an indicator of things to come for candidates running for county office in 2012. A Harold win should make Democrats nervous. If Perez is able to fend off Harold, then the prospects for Democrats will be significantly improved.
Here is a video of Harold's Wednesday talk.