Mayor Barry Glantz received a letter in the mail Thursday, confirming a a complaint filed against his election campaign by Ward 4 Councilwoman Jeanne Rhoades.
The two-page, five paragraph letter does not lay out decisions on . It does say the following:
It dismissed the allegation that he "concealed" his involvement in sending a mailer against his opponent in the Mayor's race, Laura Bryant, and that he concealed the employer of a campaign contributor.
The MEC investigation said "there was no evidence that you knew the individual responsible for the negative mailer or had any knowledge of this mailer's distribution in advance of you receiving it in the mail," and that the campaign donations coming from "3G's Yogurt, Garrick Hamilton", were correctly reported.
Glantz said he was "pleased with their decision," and that he was "completely above board throughout the campaign."
After the complaint was filed, the Mayor wondered aloud if Councilwoman Rhoades was "obsessed", but Friday he said "I'm sure Ms. Rhoades felt like she had a legitimate issue."
In a statement emailed Friday night, Rhoades said in part, "The MEC's apparent misinterpretation of my allegations, combined with their subsequent findings on this matter, unfortunately raise more questions than they answer -- but it is particularly troubling to consider the implications of these MEC rulings going forward."
In particular, Rhoades points to the lack of clarification of what she calls Donna Dill's "blatant misrepresentation" of Creve Coeur residency as part of an anti-Bryant mailer which went out late in the campaign. The MEC told Mayor Glantz he needed to update his campaign filings to reflect in-kind donations to cover the expense of those letter and envelopes.
Rhoades was also critical of the Commission's lack of action as it relates to the 3G's donation.
Missouri Ethics Commission Executive Director Julie Allen did not return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.
For his part, Glantz said Friday night that he was "not going to sit in judgment of the job they're (The Missouri Ethics Commission) charged to do." As for the Hamilton/3G's donation, Glantz said "When I talked to Garrick Hamilton, he indicated a willingness to support my campaign. It never dawned on me which entity, how they were going to provide that support. I didn't really give it a second thought as to the form or the entity," he said.
Glantz said he planned to spend time over the weekend working to update the campaign finance disclosures as requested by the MEC, while hoping to put the focus back on the city's work.
"I'm pleased that this issue appears to be behind us," he said.
The MEC has not officially ruled on the ethics complaint Glantz filed against Bryant over a late campaign finance report, a problem Bryant acknowledged and corrected.
When asked if he was surprised that his complaint filed against Bryant in February, remains open in July, Glantz said "how they choose to resolve that is between them & Ms. Bryant."
Bryant had not issued comment on either case by late Friday night.
Councilwoman Rhoades' full statement:
The MEC's apparent misinterpretation of my allegations, combined with their subsequent findings on this matter, unfortunately raise more questions than they answer -- but it is particularly troubling to consider the implications of these MEC rulings going forward. This includes not only fundamental questions about the true importance of proper attribution and campaign finance reporting, but also how to achieve consistent, meaningful enforcement of our state’s ethics laws overall.
For example, the MEC apparently turned a blind eye to Donna Dill’s blatant misrepresentation of her residency that she simultaneously identified with a P.O. Box in the “paid for by” portion of her mailer. The Commissioners also failed to address the fact that form letters paid for by Mr. Glantz's campaign contained no attribution statement at all. This certainly encourages future campaigns supporters to falsify or omit the true sources of any controversial distributions during the campaign period if they can merely correct some paperwork months after elections are over without any further consequence.
Likewise for the MEC's apparent choice to ignore the strong financial ties between Glantz's largest contributor, "3 G's Yogurt," and Creve Coeur’s largest developer, the Koman Group -- which also happens to have a multi-million dollar contract with our City via the flailing Olive Blvd TDD. It is hard to understand how the MEC's prompt dismissal of this critical matter helps support transparency.
My track record over eight years as an elected official underscores my commitment to accountability. I stand behind all of the documentation provided in my complaints, publicly submitted to our City Clerk from the start, and encourage anyone interested to read it and judge for themselves. Unlike Mr. Glantz, who filed an ethics complaint against his opponent for his own political gain, I filed this complaint because I took the MEC's own Mission Statement to heart: "...We create transparency and accountability and consistently enforce campaign finance, conflict of interest, and lobbying laws." As a result, I am deeply concerned about how this will play out in future campaigns -- not just in Creve Coeur, but throughout the entire state of Missouri.