Here is a review of the other allegations made by Cuyahoga Falls School Board member Barbara Gunter against Matt Weiss, treasurer of The Building Our Futures Together PAC, AKA The Cuyahoga Falls Levy Committee, AKA The Our Future Starts Now Committee.
Gunter alleges that although Weiss reported in 2015 the PAC paid her $147, the committee never made any payment to her.
"I was surprised to see (my name) listed in the Statement of Expenditures I was also surprised to see my address listed as 431 Stow St., Cuyahoga Falls (the address for the school district board offices)," she said in her Dec. 15 complaint. Gunter she has never been involved with the committee.
"This concerns me because as a member of the (Cuyahoga Falls City Schools Board of Education), I must remain neutral in matters of levy and bond issues this was a vague attempt to imply that I was in support of the issue."
In Weiss' response, received by the Ohio Elections Commission on Feb. 21, he states the false expenditure statement was an "unfortunate error." The committee's treasurer misread the name when documenting the expenditure, he said. Weiss said he corrected the error and filed the correct report with the Board of Elections on Feb. 13.
The commission did not find a violation in connection with the PAC listing $147 paid to Gunter and dismissed the alleged violation in connection with Gunter's claim that "this was a vague attempt to imply that I was in support of the issue."
Other state laws may have been violated, Gunter's complaint claims, including those that prohibit pubic employees from soliciting campaign contributions while at work or in a public building where official business is done. Gunter states she believes Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols was seeking contributions through employee email.
"I've obtained (emails) that show that solicitations were indeed made during working hours, by and to public employees," she wrote.
Campaign finance report records show a number of district employees contributed to the levy campaign through paycheck deductions. However, the committee's financial documents, Gunter said, do not show reimbursement being made to the school district for the actual administrative cost, including making the deduction and transmittal of the payroll deductions, listed for four reports in 2015 and 2016.
Gunter added then-Cuyahoga Falls City School District Treasurer David Hoskin emailed a PowerPoint on payroll deductions, employee relations and levy and bond issues to then-District Business Manager Hal Kendrick "during work hours on district servers."
Weiss said the amount of time invested by district personnel to process the payroll deductions was so minimal, "less than half an hour for the entire year," the treasurer did not bill the Committee for the district's time.
The superintendent "felt that he was compliant due to the facts that he mentioned the contribution was voluntary and the PAC was included with other organizations the employee could choose for contribution," Weiss wrote in his response.
The commission dismissed the alleged violations in connection with those issues.
These remaining issues were not addressed by the commission:
There are also campaign finance reports that fail to list the contributor's employer/labor organization, in addition to showing combined contributions exceeding the $100 limit stated on the form, according to Gunter. Weiss said this is not required of "our PAC since it does not support 'statewide and general assembly candidates.'"
Gunter also said four of the committee's campaign finance reports do not list the contributors' addresses. In response, Weiss said the committee "never received corrections on this matter from the review done at the local Board of Election or the matter would have been addressed."
Gunter said she also found discrepancies regarding payment made to Silver Lake Country Club. Page 4 of the Oct. 22, 2015 campaign finance report, shows payment to "fund-raising event golf outing" in the amount of $8,963.56 with no correlating check number, she said. However, she continued, the final page of this same report lists the event as payment made to the "Silver Lake Country Club" paid by check number 1001 in the amount of $8,291.03.
Weiss said they are not discrepancies but "a misunderstanding of the way the forms work on Mrs. Gunter's part." He noted the $8,963.56 reported in the Oct. 22, 2015 report is "the carryover of total fund-raising expenses from Form 31-F which is required to balance the expenditure." Weiss said he added the "carryover" wording to the form and also added an address after the name of a contributor where Gunter said it was missing and filed a corrected report Feb. 13.
Gunter also said the Oct. 27, 2016, expenditure statement shows a reimbursement payment to "Right Brain Design group in the amount of $309.82" for the purchase of door hangers. However, the invoice attached for the door hanger purchase shows that "Robert Huffman made the purchase using his own business or personal credit card," Gunter said.
Weiss said the credit card used in the transaction belonged to his business, Right Brain Design Group, not to Huffman. "I am greatly offended by this complaint of hers because it seems as if she is attacking me personally," Weiss noted. "I simply used Rob Huffman's log-in to make a purchase on my business card."