December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Campaign sign tiff stemmed from miscommunication

Ron Mantini

Ron Mantini

LORAIN — Josh Thornsberry’s campaign has filed a police report accusing Lorain City Auditor Ron Mantini of stealing a sign backing Thornsberry’s bid to oust Lorain City Councilman Frank Detillio, D-8th Ward.

Mantini readily admitted that he removed the sign Wednesday evening. He said the sign had been put up on the former Sports & Stuff property on Cooper Foster Park Road, which Mantini and four other people share ownership.

“I think it’s very rude to put a sign up without asking permission,” Mantini said Thursday, adding that he’s removed signs over the years for other candidates, including fellow Democrats, who didn’t ask him first.

But it turns out that Thornsberry’s campaign had asked for permission to put up the sign, just not from Mantini. One of the other owners, Paul Flores, had given the sign his blessing, according to a copy of the police report submitted Wednesday by labor leader Joe Thayer, who serves as Thornsberry’s campaign treasurer.

Joe Thayer

Joe Thayer

Mantini said his fellow property owners typically leave the job of handling campaign signs to him and he wasn’t aware that Flores had given permission to the Thornsberry campaign.

Thornsberry, an independent, said he isn’t looking to have Mantini charged with a crime for taking the 2-foot by 4-foot sign, which he estimated is worth $25, but he would like it back.

“I honestly believe it was a mistake and bad communication,” Thornsberry said. “It was on his property and it just happens he’s not the only guy who owns the property.”

But the theft of campaign signs isn’t limited to Lorain. It’s a problem that crops up every election season in communities large and small.

Eaton Township Trustee Linda Morrison said Thursday that signs she and fellow Trustee Donna Hicks put up as part of their reelection bids have been stolen in recent days.

“She and I have maybe a total of 10 signs left in the township,” she said.

Morrison said she had roughly 50 signs up throughout the township. She said when thieves couldn’t pull up the stakes holding up some of her banners they simply cut the banners down instead.

“I don’t know who’s doing it, but this has been a sad day,” Morrison said.

Hicks and Morrison are being challenged by Randy Houston, Jason Monschein, Keith Tollett and Daniel Urig.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.