Final Mayoral Forum Focuses on Campaign Disclosure Financials

The four mayoral candidates continued to discuss campaign contributions from potential vendors, absence of campaign disclosures and contributors to the Brookhaven YES and NO City Brookhaven campaigns.

Editor's Note: This story includes information about state ethics commission fines for each of the four mayoral candidates. Due to a filing schedule error, some of these fines (which were showing on the
Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission website as of this morning and even on Tuesday afternoon) have been and will be inactivated.

The follow-up story can be found here.

Original Article

The third and final Brookhaven mayoral debate, which had several rebuttals from candidate J. Max Davis mostly, was a stark contrast to the first mayoral debate, which had no rebuttals. Like the first mayoral debate, the candidates were allowed a rebuttal any time an opponent mentioned his or her name when answering the questions posed by audience members.

Davis himself said he was under attack.

“It’s funny that now I’m being attacked for my leadership of Brookhaven YES, which helped give us this city, because we had to fight a battle when they (NO City Brookhaven) outspent us 2 to 1.”

He also said, “I’m sorry that one of my opponents here has brought this campaign to a lower level. I didn’t want it to be this way. I didn’t attack anybody. I just thought the issues were more important. But here we are, in our first campaign. It’s already started.  It’s a shame, and I apologize to you, the voters, for this situation that we’re now in.”

A hot topic during the forum was Davis’ acceptance of campaign contributions from vendors who could potentially be paid by the city to provide services. Both Davis and Murray brought copies of their campaign disclosures, which they have filed early. Both Davis’ and Murray's campaign disclosures are available for viewing on the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly state Ethics Commission) website. On Monday night, Murray's disclosure report had not yet been posted online as it had not yet been processed.

Candidate Larry Danese has not yet filed his most recent disclosure, which must be filed by Oct. 31.

Davis fired back, pointing out that his opponent has two ethics violations and fines for not previously reporting personal financial disclosures, as required by state law.

Brookhaven Patch uncovered only one outstanding fee of $125 for Murray (under the name Sandy Murray) for not filing a campaign disclosure report with the Campaign Finance Commission by the last due date of Sept. 30. However, under Sandra Murrary, there were two more additional outstanding upaid fees of $125, all for a total of $375, for not filing her personal disclosure reports by the last few deadlines.

“If there were (fees), they would surely notify the candidate,” Murray told Brookhaven Patch. “I never got any notification. I don’t know anything about it, but I don’t know why there would be. I filed all my reports on time.”

Danese and candidate Thom Shepard also owe $250 each for filing their last couple of campaign contribution disclosure reports after the deadlines.

Davis himself owes $125 for not filing his prior report by the Sept. 30 deadline.

UPDATE: Davis now owes no late-filing fines. The $125 late-filing fine reported here for Brookhaven candidates was found to be an error made by the qualifying office since there is no Sept. 30 disclosure report filing deadline for the Brookhaven Special Election.

“Is that the kind of mayor that you want? A mayor that doesn’t disclose its personal finances? I don’t think so,” Davis said at the forum.

Brookhaven Patch will have video of the mayoral forum in its entirety posted later. Additionally, Patch will provide more coverage of topics discussed at the final forum.

HamBurger October 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Ms. Erica, I love cigars, women, and I love J. Max, which is why he has my vote. Regarding slick men, you should have been at his recent fund raiser at Pour Bistro. Better yet, how about that guest list! By the way, was that on his calendar? A little red wine with that special hamburger?
Tim Alborg October 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Gabe, you are incorrect. J. Max lied when he said that Sandy hadn't filed her personal financial disclosure. Here's the link and as you can see it'd been up weeks with the Ethics Commission before last night's debate: http://media.ethics.ga.gov/search/Financial/Financial_Details.aspx?FilerID=F2012013874 (click on View Report) The identical report has been up on the Ethics Commission website since 6/1/2012 here: http://media.ethics.ga.gov/Search/Financial/Financial_Details.aspx?FilerID=F2009003399 What say you about Sandy's call for J. Max Davis to refund all campaign contributions from lobbyists and vendors? http://brookhaven.patch.com/blog_posts/j-max-davis-should-return-questionable-campaign-contributions
HamBurger October 24, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Ms. Just Wondering, is it my responsibility to apologize for a mistake made by others on a state level? However, will you not apologize, but acknowledge, any mistakes made by others that affect candidates you rail against? A carafe of red wine for that special hamburger going to table #7 please . . .
Tim Alborg October 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM
J. Max Davis Should Return Questionable Campaign Contributions: http://brookhaven.patch.com/blog_posts/j-max-davis-should-return-questionable-campaign-contributions
TomMiller October 24, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Well, I took some time to see who Max' donors included. Mike Jacobs - $2500. Not illegal, but a hefty sum. Fran Millar, Ralston. Politicians. About $20K raised, and MD put in money of his own to the tune of nearly $3K. Maybe $2300 from entities that might be deemed consultations. That is peanuts. Even if Max is elected I don't see $250 from an engineer making a diff in a vendor app. I hope. So those - like me - who waited to see the report- take a look yourself. If you are 1)Too lazy or 2)too ignorant about the web to look for it, I will post the link later. I have Max report where are the others?
TomMiller October 24, 2012 at 01:01 AM
PS Larry - I learned you actually pushed for a lawsuit against OAL Catholic Church to build its church. You are done Larrry boy, no city voting boy
Just wondering October 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Tim, can you give us assurance from Sandy that she was not a paid consultant of he no city people. That she did not receive money in any form from any group against the City of Brookhaven? If she did receive money, will she be returning it?
Jack of Kings October 24, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Is it true that Sandy Murray is going to do another article discussing why it is true that she is the only successful business person running? That the other candidates are either unsuccessful business people or have never had their own business? Tim, asSandy's campaign manager, perhaps you know the answer to this question. WIll the article include input from Shepard, Danese and Davis? BTW--that hit piece mailer on Davis was positively BRILLIANT! Really changed alot of votes. Although those vote changes might not have been the way you planned. Like they say in "Politics 101"-- "If you cannot win on substance--attack the person and not the platform" TIA
hmm October 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM
HamBurger Its not if, its SINCE Ms. Holly made a mistake with J. Max. Is it possible that she made a mistake with Sandy aka Sandra (why does she use 2 names?) Murray? Sure, but if that's the case lets have her campaign address that immediately and have the mistake corrected like J. Max did. Frankly the fact the fine has been sitting out there without being addressed even after being pointed out yesterday, presents just another example of the lack of detail and execution capabilities on the part of Sandy Murray. Oh and as I will state above, the apology you need to make is for your incorrect statement. You make them a lot and then just ignore them when caught. You incorrectly stated that J. Max merely paid the fine when it was stated that the fine was an error and has been removed after the candidate contacted them. I hope when I get old like you I don't become mean spirited and void of character.
hmm October 24, 2012 at 02:35 PM
HamBurger this is your incorrect statement! Show some character and acknowledge it. We all make false assumptions, that's ok, its what we do with them after learning the truth that tells the story.
Eric H October 24, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Thanks for the research and good point!
Eric H October 24, 2012 at 03:56 PM
On this I don't agree. While OLA is a great organization good people can have differences of opinions and different viewpoints. There were clearly differences in vision between the neighbors and OAL about how the OLA expansion inside a residential neighborhood should happen. I think Larry's efforts in making sure the neighbors' concerns were adequately addressed are a positive for him and an indication of his long time commitment to the community.
HamBurger October 24, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Mr. Johnathan, but I AM a character! But you know that! Please pass the yellow mustard!
Thom Shepard October 24, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Mr. Hamburger, Thanks for posting this as I had no idea I had a fine for failure to file a financial disclosure. Particularly since I checked in person to make sure that my financial disclosure was received on time. You can check here to see that it was received withing the 15 day deadline: http://media.ethics.ga.gov/search/Financial/Financial_Details.aspx?FilerID=F2012013717 I do not understand why I have this fine. The other fine is incorrect as well as we should be filing as a special election despite the misinformation otherwise that prompted some of us to file the Sept 30 report.
HamBurger October 24, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Mr. Thom, evidently a mistake was made, but you may have to sweet talk Ms. Holly to have it removed in a timely manner. However, if you were J. Max Davis III it would already be done! Cheerwine and a special hamburger?
Just wondering October 25, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Tim, your lack of response speaks volumes. Enough said. She took the money and stayed!!! Unfortunately, she won't go away! She loves to lose!
Thom Shepard October 25, 2012 at 02:13 PM
I have met with J Max Davis in person to discuss some of the allegations made in the Sandy Murray flyer mentioned above and intend to investigate further. I think my opinions in this matter will be respected, after an investigation of the facts, because I have made it very clear I am a strong opponent of J Max Davis and have been very critical of some of his choices as leader of Brookhaven Yes Inc. But I don't want legitimate and fair criticism of J Max Davis record to be confused with half-truths and false facts and political mailers that look like something crafted by a national campaign manager hell bent on destroying a candidate. I want to make it very clear that while I am questioning some of J Max Davis' choices, I think much of what he decided to do was to counter a really nasty campaign supported by DeKalb County Government leadership, big developer interests and individuals like Sandy Murray. I simply think J Max made mistakes in this fight and in a desire to free us from DeKalb County rule, he and the state legislatures made decisions that rushed the process and pitted a lot of people against the city who otherwise might have been supporters. <<<continued>>>
Thom Shepard October 25, 2012 at 02:13 PM
<<<continued>>> I was pro-city back in 2007 when I was working with Chattahoochee Hills, was involved in the Dunwoody process and held meetings in 2008 to discuss a City of Brookhaven before putting things on hold due to the recession. So I disagree with J Max assertion that we would not have a city without his leadership, we just wouldn't have had a city in 2012, more likely 2013-14. While many people may have opposed the vote to become a city in a respectful way, I personally do NOT think Sandy Murray was resepectful. Every day I become more disappointed in her community dividing spirit. There are people who had legitimate reasons to oppose the city-hood movement and now they risk being associated with the underhanded tactics of Sandy Murry if they admit they voted no as candidates, that too is a shame. It is adding to the isolation and separation of good citizens who were honestly and publicly expressing their opinion, which I respect even if I disagree. It seems that the tactic of Sandy Murray now is to try to destroy our city to prove she was right in opposing it. Well all she is doing is bringing us together, even those of us who have very different opinions and views on the future of Brookhaven can come together to oppose Sandy Murray and her nasty anti-city determination. I think no matter what our views were before the vote, most people I meet now want the best City of Brookhaven possible. I simply do not believe Sandy Murray is with us.
Eric H October 25, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Mr. Hamburger if what you say is true then that's a pretty impressive indicator of J. Max Davis' abilities. I mean, he was the only candidate to be able to get the State to promptly fix their mistake relative to the assessment of fines for campaign filings? That seems like some skills that would come in handy for a Mayor of a newly formed city. Personally I was impressed by his campaign mailer I received yesterday discussing his commitment to keeping the city's finances lean and efficient. I think his commitment to outsourcing for services other than Police is great. And as I've stated before I reject Sandy Murray's attempts to paint him as unethical or dishonest since I know that he is honest and his intentions for the city are to put it first and make sure its a model of efficiency. You know even Democrats dislike unnecessary taxation and government waste. That's why we applauded the unparallelled efficient of the implementation of the Stimulus Package by the Obama administration. A Stimulus Package that saved the economy, saved many needed teaching positions, built needed infrastructure and moved us closer to ending our dependence on foreign oil. Not to mention his tax cut on the first $110,000 of income for all workers was also a great idea and it focused on that part of income that more directly translates into spending and thus further stimulation of the economy. http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/07/four-out-of-five-economists-agree.html
Thom Shepard October 25, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Eric, I don't know that I would go so far as to say J Max Davis getting the improper ethics fine removed was impressive. He was just first in line in asking to have it fixed. I was at the Ga Ethics class on digital entry to try and get some of these questions answered and found out that at that point they could not give me an answer as to whether we were supposed to file the Sept 30 or 15 day form because they were still investigating the case and that J Max was first on the list with the rest of us following. It seems the problem was created by a Brookhaven election representative and they are required to go through procedures to correct it. Again it is likely this error and distraction in our election was caused by the DeKalb County that Sandy loves so much. Interestingly while I was sitting waiting Sandy Murry was being told that she was already told not to come down to the office and that being there would not speed things up but was instead a distraction to the investigation and Sandy seemed more worried about why J Max Davis fine had been removed than her own and complaining that that was not fair and asking who she could talk to about that unfairness. She should really get her facts right before she goes down to a state office to bully a state official when she does not realize that it was correct for them to remove J Max Davis fine as it was due to an elections official error. I was embarrassed for Brookhaven due to her behavior.
John Q Public October 26, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Thomy, Either your prescription is wrong or the LSD has hit high gear. Man. That's one crazy scroll bro. If you are a potential city vendor Ill bet J Max would have hit you up for some cash too. Maybe he will make you his court jester.
Let's Make Brookhaven Great October 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thom made some good points. For some the truth hurts. Right JQP?
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 04:15 PM
When I checked last night the Georgia Ethics Commission still did not have the fines right including fining me when I am compliant. There is now a huge question as to whose fines are correct and whose are not. This is great for anyone with legitimate fines as they can hide behind this cloud. When I went to the State Ethics office and asked them about this they said an un-named Brookhaven election official had submitted our election as a regular election. At that time it had not been verified by their office that were were actually a Special Election but was being investigated. Because of this mistake we are now talking about ethics fines that are likely not supposed to exist, instead of more important campaign issues and any legitimate ethics fines. However the State Ethics office has me listed as having a fine for not filing my Financial Disclosure despite the fact that on their own web site it clearly shows I filed it on time. Does anyone know how to file an ethics violation against the State Ethics Office? This is really a sad state of affairs for our elections officials as well as the State Ethics Office. The state office is clearly drastically underfunded and that is clearly the root of much of this fiasco. They simply don't have the time or personnel to keep up with all of these issues.
Tom Reilly October 28, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I've understood that some of the larger campaign contributions discussed were in fact made to Brookhaven Yes, NOT to J. Max Davis.--Tom Reilly
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Tom Reilly, Yes that is correct and I think I have clearly stated as such. But we also have to add that contributions were made to: Brookhaven Ballot Committee, Inc. as well. But J Max Davis stands out as having received campaign contributions directly from vendors who have been providing services to The City of Dunwoody. There is also a bit of shell game going on with the fact that Campaign Committees can give to Candiates. I might add that this gets very interesting when you look at Sandy Murray's contributions as well and the connection between her donors and No City Brookhaven as well as another city council candidate closely related to No City. Since I am now busy with my campaign it is challenging for me to do all to the leg work on this effort to connect all of the dots, and since it seems that none of the newspapers want to research this story it will be seen if the public is even aware of these issues when they vote, but hopefully so.
Thom Shepard October 28, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Much of this has bled out in various postings but I have yet to see an article that really details and explains it all to the voters in general.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
"I do not understand why I have this fine."---Sonny Like the same others? Could it have been a "privilege" presumed? For siervos?
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM
"I am his consultant yes. I am posting under my own name too...:)"--Gabriel Sterling What would your advise have been, or be even now, on the propriety of Davis having sat on a purported "citizens" committee petitioning our State Congress, for the City of Bookhaven, with a State Congressman, Jacobs, authoring the purportedly "citizens" petition? Notwithstanding both being licensed lawyers also.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM
"I am his consultant yes. I am posting under my own name too...:)"--Gabriel Sterling What would your advise have been, or be even now, on the propriety of Davis having sat on a "citizens" committee petitioning our State Congress, for the City of Bookhaven, with a State Congressman, Jacobs, authoring the purportedly "citizens" petition? Notwithstanding both being licensed lawyers also.
don Gabacho October 28, 2012 at 11:43 PM
"And yes if I was running for Mayor I would probably avoid taking contributions from potential vendors, but its not illegal or unethical."---Eric Come again? In light of Mr Davis having sat on a purported 'citizens' committee petitioning our State Congress, for the City of Bookhaven, with a State Congressman, Jacobs, authoring the purportedly 'citizens' petition" also? "Notwithstanding both being licensed lawyers also." We've been through this before. Have your brushed up on how anyone seeking or holding a public trust in the USA must legally shun even the potential for conflict of interest? As any licensed real estate agent or broker, much less lawyer, must know?


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