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Friday, August 30, 2013

Clagett Defends $30,000 in Contributions from Ausherman and Pleasants

George Wenschhof

Galen Clagett
During, the NAC forum held Tuesday for The City of Frederick candidates, I asked Democratic Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett about the $30,000 he had received in contributions via real estate developers Marvin Ausherman ($20,000) and Pleasants Construction ($10,000) for his mayoral campaign.

I pointed out to him I had noticed and previously reported on the same address used from different entities to his campaign for multiple donations listed on his first campaign finance report. I informed him Democratic city alderman Karen Young, who is also running for mayor, sent me an analysis prepared by her Treasurer Kathy Rossen pointing out the connection of the addresses to entities associated with Ausherman and Pleasants.

Campaign contribution limits to mayoral candidates per entity in The City of Frederick election is $2,500 and none of the entities exceeded this figure.

I shared with Galen, Karen Young had pointed out the total of $30,000, which equaled half of his reported contributions, had essentially come from two people associated with real estate development. I added this may be troublesome to voters.

Galen bristled while responding with “I can not be bought", adding "$20,000 was a small amount (referring to the contributions received from Ausherman) and that Donnie (Pleasants) had been a long time friend.”

Clagett added Karen had also received money from Ausherman and I said yes, I had noticed a $500 contribution.

I pointed out to Karen I had seen where her campaign had received a total of $7,500 from three entities with the same address, which she readily admitted were associated with John Fitzgerald, a local businessman.  However, she said “this was a business and not a real estate developer.”

In regard to the $7,500 total contributions from entities associated with Fitzgerald, Karen told me “when he made the commitment to support her campaign financially, he told her his only expectation would be that I return his phone call should he call me.”  Karen said she responded to him by saying “she could commit to that because she returns everyone’s calls.”

She added “overall she was proud to have received 64% of her campaign contributions from individuals.”

In her Treasurer’s analysis of the Clagett campaign finance report, Karen said the Clagett campaign received 67.3% from Developers/Real Estate, 10.3% from political campaigns/PAC, 4.6% from Business, and 17.8% from Individuals.

The Clagett campaign reported raising $60,425 and the Young campaign reported raising $49,351 in their first finance report.

Clagett did not return repeated messages prior to publication.

Galen Clagget, Karen Young and Carol Hirsch are the three Democratic candidates for mayor and the Republican candidates are incumbent Mayor Randy McClement, city alderman Shelley Aloi and former mayor Jeff Holtzinger. 

Jennifer Dougherty is running as an unaffiliated candidate and does not have a primary opponent.

The primary election is September 10.

Stay Tuned.

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