BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County treasurer’s race continues to heat up.
The Mahoning County Republican Party held a press conference Friday afternoon regarding “inappropriate emails sent on county computers.”
WKBN 27 First News received a stack of emails that the Republican Party says were sent by Mahoning County Treasurer Dan Yemma. The emails date back to 2007 and 2008 when Yemma was a member of Struthers City Council and was the chief deputy treasurer for the county.
Christine Lucarell Oliver, the Republican candidate for Mahoning County Treasurer, said the emails were left in her mailbox. The name says to and from Dan Yemma, but some email addresses have been blacked out.
Lucarell Oliver said she has no doubt that they came from Yemma, however.
“It has his name listed, and there is an email in there that’s actually signed Daniel R. Yemma, chief deputy treasurer,” she said. “It has the email and the phone number and extensions as well.”
Some of the emails are sexually charged, saying things like, “Have your clothes removed and be ready to lock your door.” Others have sexually-explicit jokes.
The Mahoning County GOP said it’s not the nature that’s concerning, it’s the inappropriate behavior while on the job.
“It’s the misuse of county computer equipment, you know, doing things on public’s time,” said Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe.
When contacted by WKBN Friday, Yemma said it was his first time hearing of the allegations, which he called baseless.
“This trumped-up charge of office email issues sounds vaguely familiar. This desperate tactic clearly is a page out of dirty tricks followed by my opponent’s friend, Donald Trump,” he said. “Mr. Munroe, another Trump minion, and a group of high-powered political operatives who have descended upon our community to stir up trouble have convinced my opponent that lying is the best campaign tactic — a tactic normally reserved for candidates with a paper-thin resume and a history of questionable behavior.”
When given a copy of the emails, Yemma said they didn’t look familiar and could have been easily manipulated, as they were solely printed paper copies.
“I have no idea where this is coming from. It certainly isn’t hard to doctor something up,” he said.
Yemma added that voters shouldn’t be looking back to 2007 and 2008, at something that has nothing to do with the operation of the treasurer’s office.
Friday, the Republican Party also referenced a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Yemma. It was filed in 2015, alleging sexual discrimination, the party says.
The Republican Party says they have yet to independently verify the EEOC complaint, which alleged Yemma assigned more difficult work to the females in the office, used the work email accounts to share inappropriate female jokes and forced three females who held management positions to resign. The complaint also said Yemma allowed men to go golfing or bowling while women had to stay at work.
Yemma acknowledged that there is a pending complaint filed against him by a “disgruntled” ex-employee, but he said he cannot confirm the specifics of the complaint.
WKBN called the EEOC investigator’s office, but the investigator would not confirm or deny the complaint, citing it as a private matter.
Editor’s Note 11/10/16: Because transparency is important to WKBN, viewers should know that the documents, which Christine Lucarell Oliver and the Republican Party claim are Dan Yemma’s emails, have been removed from this story.
An attorney representing Yemma threatened legal action against WKBN if they were not removed.
Editor’s Note 11/1/16: In the spirit of being transparent about an unusual step our news organization took:
User comments were deleted and disabled along with this story, and other stories mentioning Christine Lucarell Oliver, after attorneys representing her threatened legal action.
Christine Lucarell Oliver, through attorneys Patricia Morris and David Engler, objected to a user post.
WKBN does not make it a regular practice to edit user comments.
This action in no way reflected any wrongdoing with WKBN’s story, and our reporting remains intact as it was published prior to being contacted by the candidate’s attorneys.
This is the only request WKBN’s news management has received from any candidate or candidate representative in the current election cycle regarding comments on one of our stories.