NEWS

Synenberg’s two years of judging common pleas trials illegal

Failure to turn in campaign finance reports 38 days after 2016 election disqualified her from entering office of judge in 2017

Ex-Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Chairman Roger Synenberg violated election laws when he “failed to report” his wife’s campaign contributions and expenditures.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – Records attorney Roger Synenberg filed with the elections board as his wife Joan Synenberg’s campaign treasurer in 2016 document how the government agency’s former chairman “failed to report” the money they raised and spent for the seat she holds on the common pleas court.  Synenberg missed the 38 day deadline by 102 days and filed on March 28, 2017 instead of on December 16, 2016 at 4 p.m. as required by Ohio Revised Code section 3517.10.    

“Failure to report” is the “never changed and never challenged” first degree misdemeanor offense for failing to comply with the 12th and 38th day campaign filing deadlines from the late Judge Robert Feighan in 1986. The late Prosecuting Attorney John T. Corrigan brought “criminal” and not “administrative” charges against Paul D. Mitchell for failing to perform the “candidate’s” duty to ensure his campaign committee complied with the mandatory 38-day filing deadline of R.C. 3517.10 after a primary election. 

 

The elections commission has jurisdiction over “administrative” acts that do not come with criminal penalties.  Feighan’s ruling affirms that “failure to report” is a criminal offense and is to be referred to the prosecuting attorney for prosecution.

Corrigan advised the elections board they had no legal authority to accept a campaign finance report filed 7 days after the 38 day deadline and prosecuted Mitchell for filing on the 45th instead of the 38th day as required by R.C. 3517.10.  That “information” was presented in an indictment against Mitchell in the court of common pleas. 

Mitchell originally pleaded not guilty but then reversed his decision and accepted the “information” in Corrigan’s criminal charge that the reports were due on the 38th day at 4 p.m. as spelled out in R.C. 3517.10.  Feighan’s ruling below set those deadlines in Cuyahoga County, as in every other Ohio county, in stone as the court’s standard for elections board officials and candidates to obey.

NOW COMES THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY ON BEHALF OF THE STATE AND DEFENDANT, MITCHELL PAUL WAS BROUGHT INTO COURT, REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL AND FULLY ADVISED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. UNDER RC 2941.021, UPON BEING INFORMED OF THE NATURE OF THE CHARGE AGAINST HIM, IN OPEN COURT AND IN WRITING, DEFENDANT WAIVES PRESENTMENT TO THE GRAND JURY AND CONSENTS THAT THE CHARGE PROCEED BY INFORMATION. UPON BEING ARRAIGNED UPON SAID INFORMATION, DEFENDANT WAIVES TWENTY-FOUR HOUR ANSWER PERIOD OF SAME, AND FOR PLEA TO SAID INFORMATION, SAYS HE IS GUILTY OF FAILURE TO REPORT POST ELECTION REPORT, RC 3517.10, AS CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION. THEREUPON THE COURT INQUIRED OF THE SAID DEFENDANT IF HE HAD ANYTHING TO SAY WHY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT BE PRONOUNCED AGAINST HIM; AND HAVING NOTHING BUT WHAT HE HAD ALREADY SAID AND SHOWING NO GOOD AND SUFFICIENT CAUSE WHY JUDGMENT SHOULD NOT BE PRONOUNCED: IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED BY THE COURT THAT DEFENDANT BE SENTENCED TO NO FINE AND TO PAY COSTS. ..CK 08/25/86 11:25

Corrigan’s prosecution and Feighan’s ruling affirmed R.C. 3517.10’s plain language instructions.

A) Except as otherwise provided in this division, every campaign committee, political action committee, legislative campaign fund, political party, and political contributing entity that made or received a contribution or made an expenditure in connection with the nomination or election of any candidate or in connection with any ballot issue or question at any election held or to be held in this state shall file, on a form prescribed under this section or by electronic means of transmission as provided in this section and section 3517.106 of the Revised Code, a full, true, and itemized statement, made under penalty of election falsification, setting forth in detail the contributions and expenditures, not later than four p.m. of the following dates:  

1) The twelfth day before the election to reflect contributions received and expenditures made from the close of business on the last day reflected in the last previously filed statement, if any, to the close of business on the twentieth day before the election;  

2) The thirty-eighth day after the election to reflect the contributions received and expenditures made from the close of business on the last day reflected in the last previously filed statement, if any, to the close of business on the seventh day before the filing of the statement;

Synenberg campaigned in the November 8, 2016 general election.  The 38 day deadline after the “general” election was December 16, 2016 at 4 p.m.

Judge Synenberg’s husband, Roger, turned in his wife’s “post-general election” campaign finance report on March 28, 2017; 140 days after the November 8, 2016 general election and 102 days after the last day to file. 

Missing the 38th day 4 p.m. deadline prevented board director Pat McDonald, and chairwoman Chappelle-Davis, from accepting Synenberg’s report.  But the document shows the board and employees engaged in “misconduct” and accepted the non-complying and sham document 102 days after the Synenberg’s “failed to report.”  Records also reveal the elections board’s officials criminally obstructed R.C. 3517.11(D)’s duties imposed on them and recklessly issued certificates of both nomination and election without the reports from Synenberg in violation of R.C. 3517.11(D).

The late Judge Robert Feighan ruled that campaign finance reports submitted after the 12th and 38th day deadlines confirmed a 1st degree misdemeanor “failure to report” violation.

Pursuant to R.C. 3571.11(D), board of elections director Pat McDonald and the board led by Inajo Chappelle Davis could issue Synenberg certificates of nomination after the primary election, and a certificate of election after the general election, if her husband turned her campaign finance reports in on the 12th day before and 38th day after each election “no later than 4 p.m.”  Feighan’s ruling affirmed that there is no time after those dates and specific time that reports are authorized to be accepted by the elections board.

R.C. 3517.11(C)(2) would have given the Synenberg’s extended time to deliver additional information or amend had they met the 38th day 4 p.m. requirements of R.C. 3517.10 and the two had revealed “substantially all” or “90 percent” of the rover $300,000 in contributions and expenditures.

For purposes of division (C)(1) of this section, a statement or an addendum, amendment, or other correction to a statement or an amended statement required to be filed under sections 3517.081 to 3517.17 of the Revised Code is incomplete or inaccurate under this section if the statement, addendum, amendment, other correction, or amended statement fails to disclose substantially all contributions, gifts, or donations that are received or deposits that are made that are required to be reported under sections 3517.103517.1073517.1083517.10113517.10123517.1013, and3517.1014 of the Revised Code or if the statement, addendum, amendment, other correction, or amended statement fails to disclose at least ninety per cent of the total contributions, gifts, or donations received or deposits made or of the total expenditures or disbursements made during the reporting period.

The late Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney John T. Corrigan established rigid standards for the board of elections to follow in obeying Title 35 of the state’s revised code that have not been maintained after he retired.

Synenberg, the treasurer, did turn in a campaign report on December 13, 2016 but it was the pre-general election report with contributions dating back to February 2016 that was due on October 27, 2016; which was 12 days before the November 8, 2016 general election as required by R.C. 3517.10.  Synenberg failed to report not only the pre-general campaign finance reports; but the pre-primary and post-primary reports as well. 

Judge Synenberg’s pre-general election failure as a “candidate” in that election prevented her from becoming a “candidate” in the general election as the next “office” she entered.  McDonald again avoided performing the duties he was required to perform to refer Synenberg’s campaign violation to Prosecuting Attorney Michael O’Malley as a “failure to report.”

Based on Synenberg’s ineligibility to advance from the primary to the general election, Attorney Andrea Nelson Moore should have campaigned in the November 8, 2016 election without an opponent.  Failing to report on the 12th day before the general election disqualified Synenberg from advancing to the general; acts that continue to compound her and Roger’s Title 35 violations.  The same with compounding acts of misconduct committed by McDonald, Chappelle-Davis and the board employees they obstructed from performing the duties spelled out in R.C. 3517.11(C) and (D).

“Candidates” under Title 35 are defined as, “any qualified person certified in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Code for placement on the official ballot of a primary, general, or special election.”  Synenberg, as a primary election “candidate” could not advance to become a general election “candidate” until she was “certified” by meeting the primary election’s requirements and being issued a certificate of nomination to compete in the general election.

Paul D. Mitchell didn’t receive any fines but had only to pay court costs after he was convicted in 1986 for failing to deliver a campaign finance report to the elections board 7 days past the filing deadline.

The duties Title 35 gave McDonald and the board Chappelle-Davis led to perform when the Synenberg’s didn’t meet the 38 day deadline after the general election were etched in R.C. 3517.11(C)(1).  They were supposed to immediately report their “failure to report” to the county prosecutor.  It didn’t happen and the omission affirms McDonald’s “misconduct” and failure to perform duties “in accordance with the provisions of the Revised code” as it relates to the certification of “candidates” described above.

The omitted and criminally-obstructive acts of the the elections officials give the appearance of an orchestrated conspiracy to steal a judgeship where Nelson-Moore should have been the only candidate.  One source is convinced that if the U.S. DOJ is asked to investigate the widespread number of R.C. 3517.11(D) violators holding elected office there will be prosecutions and convictions starting with Chappelle-Davis, McDonald, Brent Lawyer and other officials who have obstructed the intent of the General Assembly to have elections administered under its general laws; and not the whims of corrupt officials.

The most chilling implication of Judge Synenberg’s well-documented campaign finance reporting violations is her unlawful decision to enter and discharge the duties of the office of a common pleas judge in violation of R.C. 3517.11(D); and presiding over criminal trials, foreclosures, tort disputes and more.

Attorney Andrea Nelson Moore complied with R.C. 3517.10 and should have been the only “certified” candidate for the 2016 general election for judge of the common pleas court against a non-compliant Joan Synenberg.

Whether board officials criminally neglected to perform the duties of the offices they held or not the statute prevented the candidate who sought the office of judge from entering the office without obeying R.C. 3517.10.  The fact that she accepted a certificate of election from the board and presented it to the Clerk of  Court for filing only compounds the offenses she committed because R.C. 3517.11(D) instructed that the sham document should not have been provided to her. 

Synenberg should have refused the certificate and on her own not “entered” the “office” using a document she knew was connected to a sham and obstructive act committed by her husband’s failure to obey campaign finance reporting statutes; and the board’s reckless failure to enforce R.C. 3517.10 in violation of Judge Feighan’s 1986 “Cuyahoga” common pleas court ruling.

So when she allowed herself to be administered an oath of office and started performing duties of the office she entered, that was rightfully Nelson-Moore’s to hold, Judge Synenberg created an entirely new set of possible criminal acts for which she opens herself up to be investigated beginning with “theft in office.”  Her rulings could be viewed by a federal prosecutor as “color of law” civil rights violations of 18 U.S.C. 241 and 242. 

Plaintiffs and defendants who appeared before her court had no idea Synenberg was disqualified by R.C. 3517.11(D) from “entering the office” of a judge of the common pleas court.  Every plaintiff and defendant using the court of common pleas is entitled to have their cases heard by judges who as “candidates” are “certified in accordance with the Revised code.”

For comparison EJBNEWS examined campaign finance report filings from candidates in next door Summit County.  No sitting judge filed a report past the 12 and 38 day deadlines set forth in R.C. 3517.10.

Synenberg was endorsed in 2016 for the general election by disreputable news and endorsing organizations like The Plain Dealer, cleveland.com and Judge4Yourself.  The video below shows Synenberg’s cleveland.com endorsement interview while she was ineligible to campaign in the general election pursuant to R.C. 3517.11(D).

Instead of encouraging voters to elect Synenberg, the three disreputable endorsing entities should have been calling for her prosecution and for prosecutor Michael O’Malley to enforce Judge Feighan’s ruling that her campaign committee “failed to report.” 

Throughout the interview none of the reporters even considered to validate that she was legally certified in accordance with the revised code to meet with them; an act that continues to validate the complete lack of credibility of cleveland.com or the Plain Dealer’s endorsements.  Cleveland.com is owned by “AdvanceOhio” and candidates like Synenberg

The first degree misdemeanor for violating the “candidate’s” duties in R.C. 3517.10 and 3517.11(D) for both Synenberg’s are found in R.C. 3599.40.

“Except as otherwise provided in section 3599.39 of the Revised Code, whoever violates any provision of Title XXXV [35] of the Revised Code, unless otherwise provided in such title, and whoever violates division (D) of section 9.03 of the Revised Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.”

A second violation of the statute, which occurred twice for Synenberg in one election, is found in R.C. 3599.39 and deals with a candidate who is convicted twice.  They are prevented from seeking elected office as a candidate ever again and the offense escalates to a fourth degree felony.

“Any person convicted of a violation of any provision of Title XXXV [35] of the Revised Code, who is again convicted of a violation of any such provision, whether such conviction is for the same offense or not, is on such second conviction guilty of a felony of the fourth degree, and in addition, shall be disfranchised.”

EJBNEWS presented the statutes referenced within this article to attorneys who served as judges on municipal, common pleas and courts of appeal.  As presented each said they would affirm a conviction for “failure to report” and that R.C. 3517.11(D) imposed duties on the candidate to perform on their own whether the board’s employees delivered the certificates of election or nomination.  One former judge stated that Synenberg knew the certificates were “voided” ab initio when McDonald and Chappelle failed to enforce Title 35’s instructions as written.  It means the certificates were voided as if they never existed because they were not legally issued “from the beginning.”

The former appeals judge stated that all of Synenberg’s cases would also be voided ab initio or “from the beginning” because she had no legal authority to enter the office.  That attorney said the late Prosecutor Corrigan and Judge Feighan each operated on the “plain language” reading of R.C. 3517.10.

 

 

 

 

Eric Jonathan Brewer
Author, Investigative Journalist, Speaker, Politician, Consultant

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