Race for Mahoning Co. treasurer heats up during Youngstown forum

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – New Bethel Baptist Church in Youngstown held a Candidate’s Night on Monday for voters to hear about the issues and politicians in the running.

With 175 people in the audience, the two candidates for Mahoning County treasurer spent their time going at each other.

Democratic Incumbent Dan Yemma and Republican Christine Lucarell-Oliver tossed accusations and counter-accusations back and forth. It became especially tense after Yemma said something that made Lucarell-Oliver come off her chair.

“The young lady – well, she’s not so young. The lady over here…”

Lucarell-Oliver pointed at Yemma, telling him to go sit on a bar stool.

In her opening statement, she read from a state auditor’s report indicating problems with the treasurer’s office.

“It makes it very clear that mail lies unopened because of staffing issues for an extended period of time. Some checks are still dated and not even honored.”

Yemma claimed the auditors never said there were checks that weren’t cashed.

“All they said two years ago is that we had some issues due to staffing issues. That comment disappeared in the very next audit. It’s been taken care of.”

He did, at one point, go on the offensive.

“I’ve not mentioned my opponent’s bankruptcies, that’s plural, or the times she’s been foreclosed upon, also plural,” Yemma said.

Lucarell-Oliver was later asked about the financial issues as an agent for Nationwide Insurance and before answering, found her shoulder-to-shoulder with Yemma.

She says the agency was stolen from her and she was awarded $42.8 million by a jury.

“I set precedent in the State of Ohio. I changed the law. I made it a difference between a contractor, independent contractor, and an employee agent. It’s pending before the Supreme Court. I also won in our appellate court. That’s what…my opponent has failed to tell you.”

Lucarell-Oliver also brought up the recent conviction of a part-time employee in the treasurer’s office, who she says stole $10,000. Yemma says the amount was $1,400, and that the man was caught and convicted.