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Candidates sanctioned for election violations

Observer Staff
Fort Erie Observer

Three candidates for various offices in the municipal elections of Fort Erie last year failed to file their financial statements and face some penalties.

Michael Reles, who placed a close second in the hotly-contested race in Ward 5 in Crystal Beach, Douglas James Baker-Smith, who was soundly beaten for Region, and Ward 3 last-place finisher Scott Winger all are prohibited from holding any elected or appointed office under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Elections Act.

They had until March 29 to file their campaign financial statements but had a grace period of another 30 days to comply if they paid a $500 late fee.

Election finance statements were released to the public by the Town clerk April 30.

Far and away, the biggest spender was incumbent mayor Wayne Redekop who staved off a challenge from Stephen Passero with expenditures of $23,595 compared to Passero’s $9,420. Third-place finisher George Jardine spent no new money but recycled his election material from previous elections, which is valued at $4,247.

The spending limit for the mayor’s race was $27,773.

Sandy Annunziata was the second heaviest spender in his attempt to retain the regional councillor’s position. He spent $9,974.91, just shy of the $10,000 limit that would require an audited statement.

With expenses capped at $25,233 for the regional contest, Tom Insinna spent the least of the candidates to defeat Annunziata with a $6,595 budget. Third-place finisher Joan Christensen spent $7,974.

On the other side of the coin, Dave Schaubel was re-elected public school board trustee and reported no money spent, defeating Susan Jovanovic who spent $679.

Dino Sicoli spent $2,538 in his bid for separate school board trustee. Heather Pyke was a heavy spender for separate school board with $4,156 in expenses.

Nick Dubanow outspent his competition in Ward 2 and won the election with $3,457 in expenses compared to Marlo Toppazzini who spent $2,868, and John Mollicone spent $525.

George McDermott spent a modest $1,985 to protect his incumbency in Ward 1. Dale Hirons spent $1,062 to unsuccessfully challenge it.

Kim Zanko spent the least and one the most votes in Ward 3 with $1,540 in expenses. Tracy Calder Rossettani more than doubled the amount with $3,658, while Dean Demizio spent $1,595.

Pati Haberman outspent three other contenders for the Ward 4 seat with a $5,585 challenge. Incumbent Marina Butler spent $2,759 to keep her position. Ron Brunner’s expenses totalled $1,992 and Bob Hirons spent $235.

Incumbent Don Lubberts was re-elected in Ward 5 after spending $3,063 compared to Leah Feor’s spending of $2,095.

Ann-Marie Noyes spent $4,003 in Ward 6 to re-join council after a two-term absence when failing twice to win the mayoralty. She took on incumbent Chris Knutt who spent $2,500.

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