Councilman's neighbor claims harassment

HURON The neighbor accused by city Councilman Sam Artino of using derogatory language about him and
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



The neighbor accused by city Councilman Sam Artino of using derogatory language about him and his family says there's more to the picture than meets the eye.

The Fraternal Order of Police and Ohio Labor Council lodged a complaint against Artino on Tuesday accusing him of violating the city's charter by giving an order to a subordinate of the city manager.

The complaint stems from two calls Artino placed to police on July 7 to complain about neighbors shooting off fireworks.

"This is Sam Artino. The people across the street are screaming my name and using the F-word. They are talking about my daughters ... and my wife," he told the dispatcher, in the second of two placed calls. "Obviously you people must have told them. You either do your job or we will find somebody who will."

Council members do not have supervisory authority over city employees, including police, according to the city charter.

Judy Votino said her family has been having Fourth of July parties for years and have found themselves frequently at the other end of an Artino police complaint.

"I am the one who had the party Mr. Artino called the police about," she said. "This is not the first time he has abused his power. We have had these parties each year for about six years. We light off the fireworks at the same time the city does. All of our neighbors are invited to the party except for Mr. Artino, and for good reason. Most of them come and there aren't complaints."

Votino said some neighbors used profanity after the police arrived and it was directed at Artino.

"There were a few things mentioned out of anger by some guests, but it was directed at him," she said. "What was said was by no means harassment. When the police arrived they did not mention his name, but everybody at the party knew it was him who made the complaint."

Voltino said the police arrived and asked her to turn the noise down and if they had to return the party would be shut down. They were also told shooting off the fireworks is illegal.

"We turned down the noise and they didn't return. They informed us of the laws and how to follow them," she said. "I think it would have been the right thing for him to do to come over and tell us about any problems. We have this party once a year. This isn't a party house."

Artino said he has been looking over the FOP complaint and his neighbor's allegations, and is busy putting his defense together.

"I am not ready to comment at this time," he said. "But when I do release my side of the story, it will present a complete picture and set the record straight."