Fred Hummel, former mayor of Brookings who failed in his bid for a seat on the city council last November, has charged Mayor Bob Hagbom and City Councilor Larry Curry with filing insufficient campaign expenditure reports.
Hummel also filed a complaint against Brookings businessman Richard Gyuro, saying he has failed to register as a Political Committee and to perform other duties as required by Oregon law.
However, the three men targeted by the complaint say theres no grounds for it.
Gyuro told The Pilot Friday there was no basis for Hummels complaint against him.
I consider this whole thing a case of sour grapes, Gyuro said. An unfounded complaint filed by a disgruntled candidate.
The basis for Hummels complaint against Gyuro was that he had printed campaign flyers for three cents a copy when the rate quoted to other candidates was seven cents a copy.
Hummel filed the three complaints with City Recorder Randy Reed on Jan. 8 and forwarded copies to the Oregon Elections Division.
The complaints dealt with alleged violations of election law in the city election of Nov. 7. An elections division program director acknowledged receipt of the complaints and notified Hagbom, Curry and Gyuro that complaints had been filed against them in letters dated Jan. 19.
At this time, we are reviewing (these complaints) to determine what action is appropriate, Jennifer Hertel wrote.
Hagbom said he hadnt heard anything more about the complaint since he got a statement from the Secretary of States office in January.
I wondered why it took Fred so long to file, the election was held Nov. 7 of last year, Hagbom said. You have to consider the source. Freds been stirring up stuff for years around here.
Curry said he didnt think Hummel had any grounds for the complaint.
Well just have to see how it comes out, Curry said.
Hertel said that although the states election manual states that violators can be fined up to $10,000 per violation, the division considers the amount of the transaction and the number of business days that have gone by between the transaction and the date of reporting.
The penalty would be one percent of the amount due times the number of business days the filing is late, Hertel said.
In any case the penalty cannot be more than the amount of the infraction, she said.
Hertel took as an example the amount Hagbom listed for printing of campaign materials $180 to Morys, a printing and copying business owned by Gyuro.
Hummel said Hagbom had campaign flyers inserted in The Curry Coastal Pilot and estimated that would be 6,000 copies.
Morys charges others seven cents a copy for an eight and one-half by 11 inch flyer, Hummel said in his letter.
Hummel estimated Hagbom only paid three cents a copy, meaning he underpaid Morys by $240.
Hummel said the $240 of in-kind donation meant that Gyuro should have filed as a political committee as required by anyone who provides $50 or more in goods or services to a candidate.
In the event that claim is upheld, Hertel said, the initial penalty would be $2.40.
Multiplying that by 100 business days (assuming a corrected return is filed by March 20) the maximum penalty would be $240.
Under Oregon election rules, Gyuro said, a businessman can quote any price he wants to a customer providing he doesnt provide the service under cost.
As a matter of fact I made a small profit on the printing.
Hummel also claimed that Gyuro had provided political advertisements to Curry and Hagbom on his daily radio show amounting to well over the $50 limit.
Hertel said the question of free speech might enter into this equation. A citizen has a right to support any candidate he wants particularly on a radio show that he sponsors.
Gyuro said he has sponsored the news show on KURY Radio for some time.
I ran commercials for three candidates Bob Hagbom, Larry Curry and Rick Dentino. The commercials ran for two weeks 10 days and cost me less than $25 per candidate. I spent less than $75 on three candidates, Gyuro said.
Hummels complaint against Larry Curry also had to do with printing costs of campaign flyers.
However, Hagbom lists a $500 contribution to Currys political committee which is recognized in Currys post-election report.
If the printing cost is included in this contribution it wouldnt have to be broken out, Hertel said.