– City Council candidate Thomas “Tony” Exum Sr. wrote today on his Facebook wall
“I want everyone to be aware that for the at-large race, they will be voting for a maximum of five candidates,” said Brandy Williams, one of the six candidates named in the leaflet.
“I want everyone’s vote to count, and to vote for all six individuals, it would invalidate their ballot,” she said.
Val Snider, whose name also appears in the business card-size leaflet, expressed similar concerns.
“For one, with my name being first (on the leaflet), I’ve been asked if I knew anything about it,” he said. “I don’t. For another, there is no display of what entity is behind it.”
The leaflet was found under the windshield wiper of vehicles parked in one of the city’s parking garages.
The other candidates named in the leaflet are Merv Bennett, incumbent Jan Martin, Tony Exum and Tim Leigh.
The Secretary of State’s Office is investigating allegations that four City Council candidates, including incumbent Jan Martin, violated campaign finance reporting requirements.
Merv Bennett, Thomas “Tony” Exum Sr., Tim Leigh and Martin, who are all running for at-large council seats, are named in a complaint filed last month by Springs resident Roger McCarville.
McCarville, by the way, contributed $75 to the so-called Reform Team, a slate of candidates that includes Ed Bircham, Douglas Bruce, Richard Bruce, Gretchen Kasameyer and Helen Collins.
City Clerk Kathryn Young, who recently said it wasn’t her job to scrutinize campaign finance reports, forwarded the complaint to the state.
The complaint “will be going to an administrative hearing,” Deputy City Clerk Cindy Conway said.
The allegations against Bennett stem over his failure to report in his Feb. 7 filing the dates that he received $10,475 in contributions.
Instead of reporting the date he received each contribution in the date column of the form, Bennett repeated the amount of the contribution.
Exum, Leigh and Martin are accused of failing to file the proper forms and filing forms late, which could lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in penalties.
Candidates are required to fill out a report the first day of each month starting six months before the election.
Martin’s first statement of contributions and expenditures in this election cycle was filed Feb. 7.
Martin “is carrying over $6,841, unreported for the past 21 months, presumably her campaign fund balance” from her first campaign, the complaint states. “If the penalty is only for the past four months, at $50 per day, the fine should still be $6,150.”
Exum’s Feb. 7 report states that it covers contributions and expenditures from Jan. 1.
But in the same report, he lists a $2,000 contribution from himself Dec. 23 and expenditures in November and December.
“His first donation was his own, dated 12/23. How did he pay for earlier spending in November and December?” states the complaint. “It is illegal for a candidate committee to spend outside a campaign bank account.”
Leigh, who initially declared candidacy for mayor and then dropped out, failed to transfer his mayoral contributions to his council race and also filed forms late.
But on Tuesday and Wednesday, after being contacted by the Gazette and the City Clerk’s Office, his campaign filed a series of forms to try to fix his mistakes.
“Mr. Leigh has been provided a copy of the Candidate Committee Funds Transfer form pursuant to CRS 1-45-106,” Conway, the deputy city clerk, said.
When asked whether Leigh would be fined, Conway said the city would wait for the state to complete its inquiry.
“The secretary of state will address that before we do,” she said.
In addition to being the subject of a complaint, all four candidates have something else in common: they’ve all received contributions from the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association or the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters, or both.