Candidates at odds

A complaint against Madison Township trustee candidate Thomas Rinehart has been filed with the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC) by Rashid Taylor, campaign treasurer for Madison Township trustee candidate Ed Dildine.

Taylor filed the complaint with the OEC on Oct. 17 citing that Rinehart’s campaign yard signs did not include the "paid for by…" financial disclaimer required by the Campaign Finance and Compliance Disclosure Guide.

The OEC has set a preliminary review of of the complaint for 10 a.m. on Dec. 13 at the OEC offices, 21 W. Broad St., Suite 600, Columbus. At this hearing the OEC could determine there’s been no violation, there has been a violation, or could set a later hearing to receive further testimony.

Philip Richter, OEC executive director, said the failure of a candidate to show a proper disclaimer on campaign materials could result in a fine up to $500.

"The commission often is not inclined to impose such a fine on a person’s first case," said Richter. "The commission considers efforts by the candidate to try to get the disclaimers on their materials."

In an interview Oct. 26, Taylor, who like trustee candidate Dildine is a member of the Madison Township Fire Department, stated he noticed Rinehart’s signs did not include the disclaimer while he was putting out campaign signs for Dildine.

"I’m sure it was an oversight on his (Rinehart’s) part," said Taylor. "But the rules are set by the state and they say the disclaimer must be in place. We’re asking that he (Rinehart) comply."

In a letter to the OEC dated Oct. 25, Rinehart stated "the printer had not printed the disclaimer by mistake. I printed the disclaimer on weather proof shipping labels with a laser printer and attached disclaimers to both sides of the signs on the left bottom side of each and every sign prior to placement."

Taylor claimed that, as of a week ago, the labels Rinehart mentions were not in place.

Rinehart maintains the labels are on all of his signs and asked those filing the complaint to produce evidence to the contrary.

Rinehart stated he does a daily inspection of most of his signs and all signs every three or four days. He said he replaces damaged or stolen signs as needed, adding that several of his signs have been stolen during the campaign season. He said he has reported the sign thefts to the local police departments.

Rinehart alleged to the OEC that he finds the complaint against him "very suspicious and retaliatory in nature." He also questioned the filing of the complaint being made by Taylor, who is subordinate to Dildine in the Madison Township Fire Department.

Taylor said he wasn’t pressured by anyone to file the complaint.

"It’s friends helping friends," said Taylor. "There’s nothing retaliatory about it."

Dildine added, "I’ve never slammed him (Rinehart) or anybody. There’s absolutely nothing retaliatory about this. If I have to have a disclaimer on my signs, so does he. Just play by the rules and you won’t have a complaint. Just play by the rules."

The other two candidates in the Madison Township trustee race are incumbent Susan Brobst and challenger Charles Johnson.

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