Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something’s amiss with the Summit Republican Party’s finances

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2008 at 5:44 AM

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Alex Arshinkoff claims he loaned his party $75,000, but there's no record of it.
When Scott Sigel made his presentation before the Summit County Board of Elections, he thought he was just doing his job. For five years, Sigel, a Republican-appointed board employee, had been in charge of filing and auditing campaign finance reports. But in December, he found discrepancies with his own party’s finances. He told the Board that the Summit County GOP had failed to submit receipts for numerous expenditures. “The numbers just didn’t add up,” he says. “The records were inauditable.” But that was the least of his concerns… Sigel also said that Republican Chairman Alex Arshinkoff claimed that he personally loaned the party $75,000, and was now being repaid with interest. “Usually people don’t charge interest on a loan like that,” Sigel says. “But in this instance, [Arshinkoff] was claiming he wanted interest. It sent up a red flag.” Even more alarming: The loan had supposedly been deposited into a bank account that hadn’t been previously reported by the party. “We had no proof that the loan was even made,” Sigel says. But when he suggested the party resubmit its filings, Arshinkoff threw a fit. He accused Sigel of being on a personal and political crusade against him. “I was just doing my job,” Sigel says. “I always thought my role was to be impartial and fair. Sure, I’m a political appointee, but while doing my job, there are no politics involved.” Arshinkoff, a man known for his vendettas ["The Godfather in the Closet," June 11, 2003], wasn’t seeing it that way. He had Sigel reassigned to the ballot layout department last week. “I have no training in this type of work,” Sigel says. “I don’t really think that’s in the public’s best interest. It’s less than 60 days before a major presidential primary.” Perhaps more alarming, Arshinkoff replaced him with Gary Hagen, who has no training auditing campaign finance records. “My view is that this is purely political retaliation,” Sigel says. You could also call it a cover-up. Though Sigel says he’s always been an Arshinkoff supporter, he’s now joining a Republican insurrection to oust the chairman. “Most of the people in the party have been afraid of speaking out against Alex,” says Kevin Coughlin, who’s leading the rebellion. “They are afraid of his revenge. I don’t give a shit. I decided I’ve had enough of this nonsense.” – Denise Grollmus

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