Yesterday, we told you about the book authored by Democrat Kent Smith, who is running for the Ohio House in the 8th district, which is in eastern Cuyahoga County. The book makes use of violent images and swastikas in an attempt to demonize Republicans. One image in Smith’s book depicts bloody elephant heads on spears in front of the White House and proclaims “We’ll mount your heads on bloody spears outside your palace gates.”
Smith’s hateful and shrill rhetoric found throughout the book brings into question his ability to work with Republicans in the legislature.
But now, a local Democratic leader is stepping forward and saying that Kent Smith has a horrible history of working with fellow Democrats as well, even diverting money away from the local Democratic club into an account controlled by him.
If what she says is true, Kent Smith has no business anywhere in government.
Rose Allen is the former president of the Euclid Democratic Club. She was elected to the position in 2006, and was the first women and first person of color to be elected to the position. Smith was also a member of the club but supported another candidate for club president.
On the night of the election, Allen contends that Smith was extremely upset with the results and demanded multiple recounts even though the total votes only amounted to around 60. After the meeting was over, she alleges that Smith angrily said to her, “You don’t think you’re in charge of the Euclid Democratic Club now, do you?”
She contends that from that day forward, Smith did everything in his power to undermine her as president of the club. The by-laws stated that club checks must be signed by both the treasurer and the president, but that she discovered multiple checks had been written by the treasurer without her knowledge. When she questioned treasurer Jim Slogar, an ally of Smith’s, she says he told her it was “none of her business.”
Slogar then reportedly offered to resign after she requested that future checks be reviewed and signed by her, according to the by-laws. After she accepted his resignation, she says that Kent Smith became enraged, threatened her and attempted to take a swing at her.
Allen says that he had to be restrained and that the police officer on duty at the library that night had to escort Smith from the premises.
Later, in 2008, Allen says that she began to hear from donors about checks that they written to the club, but she could not find that they were deposited into the club’s account. She says the checks in question had been given to Kent Smith, still a member of the club.
She contends that Kent Smith had set up a completely different entity and bank account under the name “Euclid Democratic Party“, and that he had deposited the checks into this new account, completely separate from the Euclid Democratic Club.
Allen says that the Euclid Democratic Party consists only of Kent Smith and his treasurer. She says that Jim Slogar was Smith’s original treasurer, the same person who was treasurer of the Euclid Democratic Club. You can see most most recent designation of treasurer form here, which shows Kent Smith and Elizabeth Slogar as the treasurers of the committee.
On his website, Smith himself boasts of building the Euclid Democratic Party. No mention is made of the club.
Rose Allen has obtained copies of checks that she says were deposited to the account of Kent Smith’s Euclid Democratic Party. Notice that they are made out to the Euclid Democratic Club, not “Party”, and that one was even altered to read “Euclid Democratic Party”.
Allen also provided copies of two checks written from Kent Smith’s Euclid Democratic Party account. One of them is written out to guess who?…Kent Smith. They are signed by Elizabeth Slogar. Also notice the address on the checks. 24416 Effingham Blvd. is the address of Jim Slogar, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
So, did Kent Smith get angry enough that his candidate didn’t become president, that he directed funds into a separate account with a similar sounding name so that he could divert money away from the club for his own purposes?
So that he could trick donors who thought they were donating to the club to support the several dozen members who did most of the footwork in Euclid?
Let’s look at a couple of examples. Shown above is a check from the Anthony J. Russo for Judge committee for $400. It is written out to the Euclid Democratic CLUB.
The Russo committee reported this as an expenditure to the Euclid Democratic CLUB on their finance report here (page 51).
But did the club get the money? No. It was deposited into the account of Kent Smith’s Euclid Democratic PARTY. See it on his finance report here.
I wonder if the Russo campaign knew that their check didn’t go to the club as they intended, but went to Kent Smith’s “party” account instead. Notice that some of the other checks shown above were received by Kent Smith’s party, even though they were written to the club.
According to the BOE website, Kent Smith’s Euclid Democratic “Party” began operating in 2006. Rose Allen believes that Smith started it then because he knew she was going to run for club president and had a good chance to win.
Kent Smith has some questions to answer about all of this. I am told that many local Democrats are fuming about this, but it remains to be seen whether they will publicly speak about it so close to the election.
Smith faces Republican Mikhail Alterman in the election, plus an independent candidate, who may siphon a lot of Democratic votes.
UPDATE: Kent Smith has told his side of the story to the Cleveland Leader.
He disputes what Allen claims about taking a swing at her.
However, he confirmed that she was president from 2007 to 2008 (Allen said she was elected in late 2006, and her two year term spanned 2007 and most of 2008). He also confirmed that he deposited checks written to the Euclid Democratic Club into the Euclid Democratic Party account.
Smith says that is what the money was used for, adding that “some of the candidates wrote checks to the Club and not the Party” and that “we cashed them anyways and the ballots were produced.”
In his response, he does not give a reason why he formed the separate “Party” committee, nor whether he told Rose Allen while she was president that the separate “party” account existed. He also does not explain whether he told her he was depositing checks to the Club into his Party account.
So, part of this story is “he said, she said”. However, it is clear that Smith formed a separate committee with a similar sounding name, and then deposited checks that donors wrote to the club into the separate account that only he and his treasurer controlled.