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Niki Frenchko plays trick on colleagues

Says she slipped paper in for commissioners to sign resignations

WARREN — Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko claims to have letters of resignation signed by her colleagues, Commissioners Frank Fuda and Mauro Cantalamessa, after she slipped a paper for the two of them to sign onto an office table where documents requiring commissioners’ signatures generally are placed.

Frenchko said she did it because she wanted to better those around her.

Cantalamessa said what Frenchko did amounts to entrapment and fraud, and dismissed the supposed resignation as nothing more than a political game by Frenchko that does nothing to make Trumbull County better.

In the front part of the commissioners’ fifth-floor office at the county administration building downtown, there is a table where commissioners’ staff puts documents ready to be signed. It was on this table that Frenchko said she slipped in a letter of resignation that she did not sign, but the other two commissioners did. She said she did it to “make a point” that her colleagues do not read what they sign. Frenchko said staff does not always put out an entire document, but only the signature page. She said she only signs pages if the entire document is there for her to review.

“We’re elected to be watchdogs — to be the eyes and ears of the taxpayers — not to blindly sign things we haven’t read or looked at,” Frenchko said.

Cantalamessa said he expects everything on the table already has been read by him and approved by commissioners and by staff, including the county prosecutor’s office.

He trusted only his staff has put documents on the table, not others wanting to trick him. He said it is concerning to think Frenchko could slip provisions into contracts in the future that were not reviewed properly.

The resignation is dated July 21, but Frenchko just released it late Monday night.

An electronic document provided by Frenchko states the undersigned commissioners resign for reasons such as violating Sunshine Laws, not respecting women, conspiring with other staff against Frenchko and putting one’s own interests above the interests of the community. Frenchko repeatedly has accused her colleagues of these claims, and Cantalamessa and Fuda repeatedly have denied them.

“I know I didn’t see that statement before the last couple of days,” Cantalamessa said.

Fuda did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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