Mayoral candidates J. Max Davis and Sandy Murray have brought in more than $20,000 each for their campaigns, according to the most recently filed campaign contribution disclosure reports.
Davis leads with $23,482, which includes the $2,718 he has loaned his campaign. Murray has loaned her campaign $3,980 during the most recent campaign filing period, which brings her total contributions to $21,210.
The most recent campaign contribution disclosure report must be filed before Oct. 28 to avoid late-filing fees from the state ethics commission.
Reports show that mayoral candidate Larry Danese last filed a campaign contribution disclosure report on Oct. 5. According to that report, Danese has raised $1,230 and has spent $776. He loaned $1,130 to his campaign.
Mayoral candidate Thom Shepard, who has suspended his campaign, filed his most recent campaign contribution disclosure report on Oct. 15. He lent his campaign $616, which he used to pay the $480 qualifying fee and to pay for the $136 post office box, according to his report.
Residents have expressed concern about the potential conflict of interest that develops as a result of accepting campaign contributions from potential vendors. Davis is the only mayoral candidate to have admitted to accepting campaign donations from potential city vendors. According to the most recent campaign contribution report, Davis accepted more than $3,000 from vendors who have done business with other cities in the past. The Brookhaven Reporter reports that number to be approximately $3,200.
Davis, in response to a resident's question during the second mayoral debate, said he had accepted contributions from potential city vendors.
He said at the forum, "I have gotten some contributions from some potential vendors, but what's good about that is the potential vendors will be in competition with one another. So...accepting money when it comes to business with the city really has no bearing in my mind to my name, what I believe about honesty and whether or not a potential vendor is chosen. The criteria for choosing a vendor is cost and customer service in my mind. I don't care who it is... Whether or not a vendor gives any candidate money doesn't really come into play until there's something that's going to be rotten...That's what the bottom line is–saving you money. Everything we do should be geared toward saving the taxpayer money and providing better services."
The Brookhaven Reporter reported that Davis said a $250 contribution to Murray’s campaign from Doug Dillard of Weissman Nowack Curry & Willco is basically the same thing as his acceptance of contributions from potential vendors since an attorney from the firm is representing a client in a DeKalb County zoning case.
The largest contributions to Davis' campaign come from State Rep. Mike Jacobs, who gave $2,500 and from State Sen. Fran Millar, who gave $1,000. Both Jacobs and Millar helped get the bill for a Brookhaven cityhood vote passed through the House of Representatives and through the Senate.
Mary Ellen Imlay, president of The Imlay Foundation, contributed $1,000 to Sandy Murray's campaign. Attorney R. Timothy Morrison of Pop, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood LLP donated $1,000 and Brenda Brown of Brown and Spiegel Family Office Management donated two contributions of $1,000 to Murray's campaign. Imlay also helped back efforts of those opposed to the cityhood vote.
Now, Murray is calling on Davis to return the campaign contributions he received from potential vendors. Read her full statement here.
What do you think of the campaign contributions received by mayoral candidates? Tell us below in the comments.
Update 9:46 a.m. Murray said she knows Doug Dillard, the attorney named in the Brookhaven Reporter article mentioned above, from the Brookhaven farmers' market. He has a booth, Dillwood Farms, there every Saturday. "That's how I got to know him, and he knew I was running for mayor, and he just gave me a contribution," she said.