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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ethics Complaints Filed Against Restore the Pride Group

Diehl misplaced paperwork, he says in e-mail sent to Call.

Staff Reporter - Call Newspapers

February 09, 2011 - Two complaints reportedly have been filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission against the committee that campaigned for the Mehlville School District's recent ballot measure.

The complaints, dated Feb. 1, contend the Committee to Restore the Pride has violated state law by failing to file post-election and January quarterly campaign finance reports with the MEC.

The Committee to Restore the Pride campaigned last fall for Proposition C, a proposed 88-cent tax-rate increase for districtwide improvements that voters defeated in the Nov. 2 election.

Under state law, committees must file a report no later than 30 days after an election detailing all financial activity for the period ending 25 days after the election.

They must also file finance reports no later than 15 days after the close of each calendar quarter.

The deadline for campaign committees to file a post-Nov. 2 election finance report was Dec. 2.

Quarterly reports were due Jan. 15.

Jack Jordan, the Committee to Restore the Pride's treasurer, told the Call Dec. 23 the group's post-election report was "almost finished."

However, he said last week others have been handling the committee's finances.

"I haven't had anything to do with this, and I don't know what's going on," Jordan said. "Everything that I have ever gotten I have turned over to (Mehlville Superintendent) Terry Noble and (Mehlville Board of Education President) Tom Diehl."

Noble said he is only a point of contact for Jordan and has forwarded all committee-related correspondence to Diehl.

In an e-mail Monday, Diehl said he "had misplaced the paperwork" for the Restore the Pride committee's post-election finance report.

He indicated that report would be completed this week.

Diehl did not respond to a request for further comment before press time.

State law prohibits ethics commission officials from commenting on investigations or confirming whether they have received complaints.

Copies of the two ethics complaints against the Committee to Restore the Pride — with the name of the filer redacted — were provided to the Call last week by Ken Meyer of the Mehlville Community Taxpayers Association, the group that opposed and campaigned against Prop C.

Meyer said the complaints weren't prepared by the organization. However, the group endorses the move, he said.

"We filed all our necessary documentation and did so on time," Meyer told the Call. "And I would think that organization — Restore the Pride — would do the same thing ...

"They need to follow the law."

Meyer said the MCTA believes in fiscal responsibility, "and that starts with how funds are raised, where they come from and how they're being spent."

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners said Monday the Committee to Restore the Pride hadn't filed anything since October.

In a pre-election report submitted Oct. 28, the committee stated it had raised $26,980 and spent $2,775 toward the Prop C campaign as of Oct. 21 and had $24,205 cash on hand.

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