Thursday, November 2, 2017


 UPDATED 11/05/2017  5:08 PM

UPDATED 11/04/2017 02:10 PM

UPDATE:  11/05/2017 5:08 PM

The SCPR learned that Brook Harless has a tie-in to Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci who is currently 16th congressional district congressman. has reported (June, 2017) that Harless is one of three co-chairs of the veterans coalition aspect of the Renacci campaign. 

Renacci is the least likely winner of in the GOP primary election which will take place May 8, 2017

UPDATE 11/04/2017 2:10 PM

The SCPR is truly amazed that a reader would think that The Report is negative only any candidate who self-finances.

For the record, let it be known that the SCPR thinks it is admirable that the Harlesses almost totally (at least through the pre-general CFR) self-financed Brook's campaign for Plain Township trustee.

She along with the Jeff Jakmides, in self financing immunize their political campaigns, immunize themselves, if elected, against claims that they are subject to being unduly influenced by campaign contributors when it comes to official decision making.

According, the SCPR (to be kind) takes the position that the person that wrote the following-shared e-mail read unfounded assumptions into The Report's commentary.

Again, Brook Harless and her husband are commended by the SCPR for self-financing Brook's campaign.

The complaining e-mail:

Angie Dagestino  [11/04/2017] at 12:06 PM


I don't know if you are aware Mrs. Harless and her husband self-funded her campaign therefore she did not seek out donations and/or contributors due to not wanting to use tax-payers money. She has been open about self-funding since the beginning. She also said she felt it was more important to talk with residents whether than ask for donations or seek donors. I find it odd that in the beginning of your report you applaud a Mr. Jackmides [sic] for self-funding but put down someone else for doing the same thing?


Today, The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) focuses on campaign finance reports filed last week with the Stark County Board of Elections for candidates running in the Plain Township trustee (two to be elected) race on November 7th.

Population-wise, Plain is Stark County's largest township and its most demographically diverse and politically competitive Stark County political subdivision.

A truism of politics is the admonition to FOLLOW THE MONEY. 

One of the very best financing of campaigns (qualitatively speaking in terms of avoiding potential "conflicts-in-interest) in recent Stark County political history was the 2016 county prosecutor campaign of Jeff Jakmides.

Being Stark County prosecutor is one of Stark County's most powerful positions in all of Stark County government.

The SCPR posits that Jakmides in financing his own 2016 campaign against incumbent Democrat John Ferrero came about as close as anybody in modern Stark County political memory of taking away the opportunity of local attorneys and others to curry favor with the prosecutor's office in their having made campaign contributions to a candidate running for prosecutor.

Of course, no attorney or other contributor ever approaches a prosecutor and says:  "Oh, by the way, I contributed $xxxx to Prosecutor X's campaign" therefore entitling the contributor to preferential treatment.

But when certain inexplicable things happen in government decision making, one ought to immediately go back and closely examine campaign finance statements and dig into other relationships that may shed light on decisions that do not seem to make sense.

The "light of day" does send those who seem to have something to hide on a mission to stifle the messengers.

So kudos to Jakmides for trying to take politics out of campaign finance and thereby take away one avenue that some use in an attempt to short circuit fairness in our American system of justice.

Stark County is the loser for Jakmides not having defeated Ferrero in November, 2016 election in a very, very, very close election.

Now off the soapbox and onto an analysis of the campaign finance reports of four reporting of the five candidates as the SCPR endeavors to equip the voting Plain Township public with the ability to FOLLOW THE MONEY as a primary way as among a multiplicity of ways influence peddlers seek to achieve interest group/personal agendas without regard to the public interest.
  • Note:  Apparently, Democrat John Juergensen is not a player inasmuch as he did not file a CFR which is not required of candidates who spend less than $1,000 in any given reporting period
Of course, there are political campaign contributors who are not looking for a special edge in contributing to this or that campaign, should a given candidate be elected.

They are merely supporting the notion of political competition as being a check and balance on how incumbents have handled themselves while in office or empowering persons with better ideas of governance to gain office.

Scanning through a series of Plain Township trustee campaign finance graphics specially created for this blog, the SCPR has the following observations:


Jimmy Babcock, (Rich):  Canton councilman-at-large.  Babcock is as close to being a "true blue" Democrat as there is in Stark County.  He sets the pattern of Anthony Rich contributors.  While John Sabo (a person who the SCPR sees as an "independent-minded" Democrat) did reasonably well with Democrats of Babcock's stripe; not nearly as well as Anthony Rick whom the SCPR sees as an out-and-out partisan Democrat who The Report sees as being stand-in for former Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis (nearly 25 years) but who has moved on to being a Canton resident after having been selected by the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party to become county clerk of courts and, whom, suggests he may run for mayor of Canton in 2019 against incumbent independent Thomas M. Bernabei.

Kristen Bates-Alyward (Rich): A former colleague of Rich's (when he worked in the city prosecutor's office) and one of Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio's top prosecutors who stands to replace him as law director when he retires somewhere around the end of the year or in early 2018.  Obviously, she needs to be "in good standing" with Stark Dems' when the Martuccio selection process takes place.

Rick Campbell  (Sabo):  Stark County Democratic recorder Rick Campbell contributed to Sabo but not Rich which is somewhat of a surprise.  Campbell is normally aligned with the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr/Shane Jackson wing of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Later on in this blog (Graphic 4), readers will see that Stark County Dems' political director Shane Jackson is listed as supporting Rich.

Shane Jackson's mother, Gayle, a former Stark County commissioner has lined up behind Rich (Graphic 4).

Johnnie's brother Sheriff George T. Maier is listed as supporting the candidacies of both Sabo and Rich (Graphic 5).

Campbell's wife, Lisa—chief administrator for the Plain Township trustees—is listed as having made a contribution (in-kind, Graphic 1) to Republican Scott Haws.


Kathy Catazaro-Perry (Sabo): Another surprise.  This staunch Democrat is mayor of Massillon and Shane Jackson/Maier, Jr political ally.


Janet Creighton (Haws:) In the view of the SCPR, Stark County's most prominent and influential Republican.

Robert DeHoff (Haws):  It is interesting to see this North Canton centered developer on a Plain Township trustee campaign finance report (Graphic 2).  DeHoff as a principal in North Ridge Place, LLC just went through a North Canton tax abatement controversy.  Also see William Lemon (a DeHoff partner) contributing to Sabo on Graphic 5)

Rich contributions from the Stark County prosecutor's office (where Rich currently works) include:
  • Anthony, (Graphic 1)
  • Babik,
  • Duffrin, (Graphic 2)
  • Ferrero (the prosecutor himself)
  • Kurtzman (Graphic 5)
  • Nicodemo, (Graphic 6)
  • Ostrowski
  • Rhodes (Graphic 7)
  • Frederic Scott
  • Megan Star
Rich contributors from the Canton law department (Rich's former employer) in addition to Bates-Alyward as listed above include:
  • Craig Chessler Democrat who is a former Canton law director office colleague of Rich.  Moreover, he is a long time trustee in Perry Township (Graphic 1)
  • Joe Martuccio (the law director himself).  However, Martucci also contributed to John Sabo (Graphic 6),
  • Andrea Scassa (now Massillon law director) but former colleague of Rich's.
The SCPR would rather not see local judges making financial contributions to Stark County-based political campaigns.  But, of course, it is their perfect right to do so.  More disturbing is judges and judicial candidates accepting political contributions from lawyers who practice in their courts.

Thankfully, very few Stark County judges have involved themselves in Plain's hotly contested trustee race.

Among them:
  • Frank Forchione, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (Graphic 2)
  • Taryn Heath, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (Graphic 3)
  • Chryssa Hartnett, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division (Graphic 3)
  • Curtis Werren, Canton Municipal Court (Graphic 8)
Another presence in what the SCPR sees as possibly somehow connected to former Plain Township trustee Louis P. Giavasis are contributions by several of his office's employees.

Undoubtedly they would say if asked that their contributions to candidate Rich were their idea.  

You mean to say that there has been no Louis Giavasis talking up of Anthony Rich going on in Louis P. Giavasis' political inner circle?

It appears to the SCPR that his individual absence in the current election cycle pre-general set of campaign finance reports is to suggest that he is neutral in current Plain Township trustee contest.

The Report for one is not buying.

Historically, in the SCPR's memory, the name Louis P. Giavasis is all over the place in making campaign finance contributions in Stark County political subdivision elections.

One might say:  "Well, Louis has moved into the city of Canton and therefore has no stake in the outcome of the Plain Township race."

Answer:  His attendance at the October 9th Canton League of Women Voters trustee candidate forum belies that notion.

The Report's take on Louis P. Giavasis is that he is among Stark County's most accomplished politicos in angling to achieve his personal political objectives.

Moreover, it appears to the SCPR that Giavasis has teamed up with Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (who The Report thinks as a "politicized" county officeholder ranks right up there with Giavasis) to make their man Anthony Rich as being their political clone in a key Stark County political subdivision office.

To the degree that John Sabo has received contributions from Stark County-based officeholders, it speaks—not so much to his political connections, but rather seemingly to the esteem with which his contributors hold him in on account of his many years as a first rate Plain Township firefighter and fire chief.

Testament to his qualities is evidenced by contributions to his campaign by a couple of out-of-Plain-Township officials; namely:
  • Bill Smith, a Republican and former Canton Township tree turned Stark County commissioner (Graphic 7), 
  • Republican Stark County Auditor Alan Harold (Graphic 3), and
  • John Pizzino, a Democrat and sitting Jackson Township trustee (Graphic 7)
Candidates Haws and Sabo do not believe for one moment that Giavasis is "neutral" in this race.  Both have told the SCPR they are convinced that he is ALL IN FOR RICH.


Brook Harless's claim to fame on her CFR is having state Representative Christina Hagan (R, Marlboro Township,  the 50th) contribute $50 to her campaign.

Other than Harless's husband Stephen contributing $10,400 in the pre-general reporting period, Christian Hagan is it.

Hagan is supposedly abandoning her 50th Ohio House seat in favor of running for Congress in a district in which she does not live (the 16th congressional district).

Hagan lives in the 7th which is held by Holmes County resident Bob Gibbs.

The SCPR looks for Hagan (who is trailing fellow Republican Anthony Gonzalez) in 16th district fundraising badly to drop out of the congressional race and run for a final term in the Ohio House before being term limited out.

In Plain Township, the SCPR thinks a Hagan/Harless connection is not a good thing for Brook.

Readers of the SCPR know that The Report has a rather dim view of Christina Hagan as a politician.

Is she Brook Harless's political mentor?


Of course, anytime Democrats are in a political fray, one can count on organized labor to be a significant factor in campaign finance contributions.

Sabo pulled in $250 from unions in the pre-general-election CFR filings whereas Rich pulled in $1,350.



Graphic 7 shows other Stark County "political" notables getting in the the Plain Township trustee fray:
  • Former Stark Common Pleas Court (General Division) Richard Reinbold for Rich
  • Former Plain Township clerk (now known as fiscal officer) Claude Shriver, II supporting both fellow Republican Scott Haws and Democrat John Sabo'
  • Canton councilman William Smuckler contributed to Anthony Rich



The stakes are high as which political party is going to control the Plain Township Board of Trustees going forward.

One might say:  "Hold on Martin.  This race is non-partisan.  Don't you know that?"

Of course, I do.

But who really believes that?

If Scott Haws is re-elected and John Sabo are retained as trustees, then look for Plain to have a largely non-partisan government.

But should Anthony Rich be elected, the SCPR thinks that Louis P. Giavasis will continue to have influence on Plain Township and when he thinks and brother Phil (Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts and Stark Dems chairman) thinks there is a Democratic Party interest at play in Plain,  look for for the not-up-for-election this election cycle trustee Al Leno to join forces with Rich to do Giavasis' and the Democrat Party's bidding.

It matters not whether Scott Haws or John Sabo is the third trustee.

The SCPR sees the Rich candidacy as a plan by Louis Giavasis and the Stark County Democratic Party leadership to keep his/the party's fingers in Plain Township governance and politics.

While the SCPR does not think Brook Harless is a viable candidate, in this day and age who knows.

If she were to surprise us all on November 7th, things could very interesting in Plain Township governance.

What follows are the actual filed CFRs filed by candidates Haws, Sabo, Rich and Harless.





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