The turbulent public life of embattled East Cleveland mayor Gary Norton continued last month with a $114,100 fine from the Ohio Elections Commission, Ideastream reports.
He'd previously been fined $20,000 by the same group.
The cause of this monetary penalty: Apparently Norton failed to file a report from 2015, was tardy in turning in his 2014 report, and hasn't yet resolved issues that linger from his 2013 report. Complaints from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections pointed the commission to the problems.
In a series of letters, the board of elections asked Norton to fix a number of discrepancies in his 2013 reports—including incorrect fundraising totals and missing addresses. The board also requested proof of mileage, bank fees, phone expenses and other spending for that year.
“I am aware of the situation regarding delinquent campaign finance reports,” Norton wrote in an email to ideastream. “All required reports will be completed and filed. The decision of the elections commission will be appealed. Campaign finances and reporting are completely separate from city finances. No city or public funds are involved.”
Norton's fines ballooned $100 each day that he didn't resolve the problems. Will he end up paying the full $100,000+? Doubtful. Ideastream reports the fines can be reduced and a rep from the Ohio Elections Commission told the outlet, “Once they file the report, then I’m willing to discuss any kind of a more reasonable settlement of the financial aspects of a case. But the first thing you have to do is file your campaign finance report.”
This is all in advance of the special recall election Norton faces on December 6.