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Related Categories: U.S. | Government & Elections
How to Buy Access in Youngstown, Ohio
by Tim Lohrentz
Tuesday Nov 16th, 2004 11:44 AM
A $2000 contribution to Bush and computer access to election results in 9 counties before they are public demand an investigation.
Universe Central Corporation helps counties put their election results online live at http://www.electionohio.com. They (http://www.universecentral.com) did this for nine Ohio counties, including four in the more populous northeast - Geauga, Mahoning, Trumbull, and Portage. These four especially seem a little suspicious to me because they all showed movement toward Bush and pretty big movement (except for Geauga). Yet neighboring counties like Cuyahoga, Summit and Stark moved toward Kerry and Lake and Ashtabula saw basically no movement either way. See my full article on Ohio county statistical anomalies at:

http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/11/1704769.php

What does it mean to put election results live on a website? Well, it means that his company had access to the election results of these 9 counties before they became official and before they became public. He had to because he was publishing the results live as more and more precinct results came in on Nov. 2.

Universe Central Corporation is also known as CBOSS. In 2000 they published the elections results live for Rhode Island and most of the same counties in Ohio and Lawrence, Pennsylvania. They have run the Mahoning Health Dep. website since 2000 and the whole county's website (since when?). They also recently (when?) re-did the website for the Mahoning Tourism and Convention Bureau.

The owner of this company is Ralph Zerbonia. In October 2003 he made a $2000 contribution to 'Bush/Cheney 04'. See: http://www.city-data.com/elec/elec-POLAND-OH.html. It could mean that he may have been trying to buy access. But wouldn't a contribution to the local parties rather than a national campaign give you more access if you are a software firm trying to get into the county government market? Could it have been a quid-pro-quo? I.e. "You give $2000 to Bush and we'll give you this contract." It would be interesting to find the dates when the contracts were signed between his firm and Mahoning County and the Convention Bureau.

Contribution:

ZERBONIA, RALPH R. MR. (UNIVERSE CENTRAL CORPORATION/MANAGE), (Zip code: 44514) $2000 to BUSH-CHENEY '04 (PRIMARY) INC. on 10/29/03

But I also found these contributions:

Zerbonia, Ralph (Universe Central Corporation/CEO), (Zip code: 44514) $1000 to TIM RYAN FOR CONGRESS on 03/31/03

Zerbonia, Bonnie (Youngstown Clerk of Courts/Adm Assi), (Zip code: 44514) $500 to TIM RYAN FOR CONGRESS on 09/24/03

Zerbonia, Bonnie (Youngstown Clerk of Courts/Adm Assi), (Zip code: 44514) $500 to TIM RYAN FOR CONGRESS on 09/24/03 (twice on that day)

Well, Tim Ryan is a Democrat from Ohio's 17 Cong. District, who was running for re-election and won with 77% of the vote. Why would Zerbonia and, most likely, a family member (Bonnie), make contributions to Ryan, a local Democrat, in March and September, 2003, and then a contribution to Bush-Cheney for the maximum of $2000 in October 2003?

On the one hand, if he contributed to Ryan it may show that he is not an ideologue and not a likely source for fraud. But then again it should be investigated - his company had access to the election results before they became official.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Maybe cuz Ryan is Pro Life?anonThursday Nov 18th, 2004 6:09 AM
peaceful activist for justicefaith byrdTuesday Nov 16th, 2004 5:32 PM
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