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PDC will investigate mayor's campaign
By Dennis Box
A formal complaint has been filed with the Public Disclosure Commission concerning Mayor Bob Young's financial practices in his re-election campaign.
John A. Merrell sent a letter to the commission Sept. 2 asking for an investigation of Young's claim for lost wages.
The commission reported an investigator has been assigned to the case.
On the commission' Web site, Young's financial forms stated he claimed $7,274 in lost earnings beginning May 31.
Young stated he did claim lost wages, but differed with the amount and timing. He said he drew $5,250 from his campaign funds beginning June 17 with a $1,500 claim, followed by another $1,500 July 6, Aug. 5, $750 and Aug. 26, $1,500.
"I inquired in May if I was eligible to claim this," Young said. "They said yes, you are qualified and that I just had to send a letter."
The mayor said he needed the money so he could continue to campaign and act as mayor of the city.
"If I could raise enough money to campaign and survive and pay some bills," Young said, "my supporters were fine with that."
Young's claim of lost wages is based on a full-time job as legislative assistant to Sen. Pam Roach.
On Aug. 21 Young sent a letter to Kurt Young, a compliance officer with the commission, stating:
"I had been working for the State Republican Senate staff, serving as a legislative assistant to my Senator. Attached are my last two pay stubs. The Senator decided, correctly, that I did not have time to campaign for office and work for her, so I was terminated. My last check, as shown on the attachment, was May 10, 2005. I was being paid $3,637 per month, as they (sic) documents show.
"I have not taken another job since then, and have been campaigning at least 40 hours a week. When I contacted our office, they told me that I would be required to provide this documentation when requested, so I am glad to be able to provide it for you."
Young stated he was within the boundaries of the state law covering lost earnings because he was terminated on March 21 to work on his campaign.
"She (Roach) said I need to go home and run for mayor," Young said. "She was right. I took a temporary position (with the Republican caucus) and when the session was over I was done. The PDC told me I was qualified."
Young also stated it didn't matter whether he was terminated or quit.
"I still qualify if it's a matter of quitting a job for campaigning," Young said.
Roach confirmed Young was a full-time employee and his employment with her office ended March 21, but there is an apparent difference in the reasons for the job ending.
"This is a personnel matter and has to do with job performance," Roach said. "He was not terminated because he was running for office."
The commission reported the investigation could result in a no violation or dismissal decision, a warning letter, a hearing before the commission chairman, a hearing before the commission with monetary penalties or a recommendation to the attorney general for criminal prosecution.
The mayor registered with the commission on May 13 to run for a third term.
According to commission documents available online, Young had raised $18,300 through Sept. 6, but the mayor said the figure is inaccurate and is closer to $16,000.
Young has raised the most of any candidate according to commission's Web site.
Councilman Neil Johnson has raised $4,865 through Sept. 1.
Councilman Jim Rackley has not accepted contributions.
Dan Decker and Quinn Dahlstrom have not reported any contributions.
State law places no limits on the amount of money an individual or business can contribute to a candidate running for local office.
State house and senate representatives are restricted to $675 for individual and $1,350 for business contributions up to the primary. The amount doubles for the general election.
The following are contributors to Young and Johnson's campaign as listed on the commission site, www.pdc.wa.gov.
Young's listed contributors are:
Lodestar One, LLC, $5,000
Richard Larson, engineer, $3,250
Ned Williams, Westridge Developers, $1,750
American Concrete, $1,000
John H. Dean, logger, $1,000
Pierce County Affordable Housing Co., $1,000
Carl Thun, logger, $600
Fairweather Cove Estates, $500
Rick Gienger, $500
Rick and Sandra Gienger, carpenter, $500
Properties Emerald, $250
Carl Wade, self-employed, $250
Ray Frey, consultant, $200
Richard Becker, self-employed, $100
Don Gillis, car dealer, $100
Erwin Yoder, $50
Johnson's listed contributors are:
Small contributors of $25 or less, $1,635
Donette Matautia, $100
Louis Matautia, $100
Jeff and Susan Stinnett, $100
The UPS Store, $150
Troy Franz, $50
Carmen Pollastro, $100
John Pollastro, $225
Bryan Jeter, $85
The DCP Company, $200
Alex Calder, $100
Allphaze Com. Interior, $500
Neilan Johnson, $30
Kathy Dawley, $100
Matt Dawley, $100
Traci Franz, $50
Don and Stephanie Larson, $200
Jeff and Amy Johnson, $100
Bob and Deborah Cantrall, $100
Gerald and Marian Betzer, $100
Steve and Robin Bricker, $80
Dennis Box can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.