Ex-Niles mayor Infante will remain as Dems’ secretary despite indictments

NILES — There are no plans to remove the ex-mayor of Niles from his seat as secretary for the Trumbull County Democratic Party unless he is found guilty of one of the 34 felony charges filed against him in a 56-count indictment issued this week by a Trumbull County grand jury, according to party leadership.

Ralph A. Infante, who was mayor of Niles from 1991 through 2015, is scheduled to be arraigned 1 p.m. Dec. 5 in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Charges against Infante, 61, include allegations of tampering with records for failing to report gifts or gambling proceeds when filing taxes and Ohio Ethics Commission reports, filing a false disclosure statement, falsification, obstruction of justice and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, court records state.

Ohio Revised Code bars convicted felons from holding elected office. The position of party secretary is voted on by the party’s central committee members.

As party secretary, Infante is the keeper of the party’s official records. He is responsible for signing official documents for party appointments and sending the documents to the Ohio Secretary of State to be certified, said Kathy DiCristofaro, the party’s vice chairwoman.

Infante held DiCristofaro’s current position before the party restructured in 2014, she said.

Dan Polivka, the party’s chairman, said the indictment against Infante is “unfortunate” but he is holding off judgment until Infante  has his “day in court.”

DiCristofaro said she has not heard of any party members who are eager to oust him from his role.

Polivka said Infante has been active in in the party.

Infante did not return messages seeking comment.

If he were to be convicted of even one of the 34 felonies, DiCristofaro said the party would follow the guidelines laid out in the Ohio Revised Code.