Editor’s Note: The original story failed to state Spano’s sentence. Spano was fined $50 plus court costs.
MIAMI COUNTY — An outgoing Tipp City Board of Education member was found guilty of falsifying his candidacy petition in Miami County Municipal Court on Dec. 12.
Sam Spano, 61, of Tipp City, was found guilty of first-degree falsification following an investigation regarding his board of education petition of candidacy.
On Thursday, Spano responded by email to the Miami Valley Today stating he would not comment on the matter.
According to the Tipp City Police Department’s police report, the department first began the investigation of wrongdoing on Sept. 9 when they received a phone call from attorney Jay Lopez representing Tipp City Schools board member Theresa Dunaway’s concerns of “voting irregularities” regarding Spano.
According to the report, Dunaway believed that Spano’s wife petitioned for signatures and Spano himself did not witness the signatures, but signed the petition as if he collected all signatures on his own behalf.
The Tipp City P.D.’s report found 11 individuals who confirmed that Sam Spano was not present at the time that his petition was circulated. One resident agreed to provide a written statement, three were asked to testify before a grand jury and seven others were told they may be needed in the future depending on how the case would proceed in court.
According to the Miami County Board of Elections Director Laura Bruns, another party may circulate a petition on behalf of a candidate, but the circulator must sign the petition as the witness of those signatures. Bruns said Spano withdrew his petition in September after the deadline for protest had passed and after his candidacy was already certified by the board. Bruns also explained the candidate must sign the declaration of candidacy on the front of the petition, but the circulator, either the candidate or a party on their behalf, must sign as the witness of the petition’s signatures to make them valid.
Once Spano withdrew his candidacy, the Tipp City board of education race was uncontested. Elected board members included incumbent Dunaway, Anne Zakkour filing for a board seat and Simon Patry filing as a write-in candidate.
According to the Ohio School Boards Association, Spano served on the Tipp City Board of Education from Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2006 and from Jan.1, 2016 and his term will end Dec, 31, 2019.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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