VALDOSTA — A group opposed to city-county school consolidation made its campaign contribution list public Thursday.
Friends of Valdosta City Schools and Community Unification for Educational Excellence failed to file their Campaign Disclosure Reports on time for their political involvement in the unification referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Though FVCS’s report has not been officially filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission as required by law, the completed report was delivered to The Times Thursday afternoon. CUEE has still failed to make its report public.
According to the FVCS report, the total amount of contributions is $23,033.
Some of the contributors include: Roy Copeland, Lowndes County/Valdosta Industrial Authority chairmen, contributed $150; Carol Sherwood, a Valdosta attorney, gave $250; Valdosta Mayor Joseph “Sonny” Vickers contributed $120; FVCS treasurer David Waller contributed a total of $1,500; the Wehling family gave $300; Ashley Paulk, Lowndes County Commission chairman contributed $200; Jones Creek Company gave the most at $2,000; Mac Mackey, owner of Mackey Lumber, gave $200; Owen Prince of Prince Automotive contributed $110; the Viking Touchdown Club gave $495; and the Valdosta Touchdown Club contributed a total of $975.
The total amount of expenditures, according to the report, is $21,575.17. That leaves an excess of contributed funds of $1,457.83.
Contributions that are left over may be saved for a subsequent campaign, or may be donated to a charity, a cause or another candidate’s campaign.
According to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission website, if there are not remaining elections in the election cycle, or even if there are remaining elections but the candidate will not be on the ballot for any election remaining in the election cycle, all contributions left over after payment of campaign expenses must be disposed of following the law governing the appropriate use of excess contributions.
Some expenditures include: L. Andrew Smith, the attorney who provided incorporation, $650; a consultation survey from Landmark Communications, $3,000; a total of $4,650 was spent on signs and decals; $2,624.60 was spent on advertising and campaign literature; $3,568.45 was spent on T-shirts; and Sam Allen was paid a total of $499.97 for food reimbursement and miscellaneous expenditures.
Fees and civil penalties are levied against organizations who fail to file financial disclosures and campaign contributions. FVCS and CUEE will both be required to pay these fees.
According to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, these penalties are as follows:
— 1 to 14 days late: a late fee of $125 shall be imposed for each financial disclosure statement that is filed late.
— 15 to 44 days late: a late fee of $250 shall be imposed on the 15th day after the due date for such statement if such statement has not been filed (total of $375 in late fees).
— 45 days or more late: A late fee of $1,000 shall be imposed on the 45th day after the due date for such statement if the statement has not been filed. Campaign committee funds shall not be used to pay such penalty (total of $1,375 in late fees).
Mike “Nub” Nelson, FVCS founder, was not sure when its report would be officially filed, but says the group is working vigorously to get it done as soon as possible.
Valdosta attorney and CUEE member Tom Kurrie would not confirm when CUEE’s report would be completed and filed.
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