April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Thousands of dollars donated to Issue 10 campaign

ELYRIA — The Elyrians First Committee started this year’s Issue 10 campaign with little money in the bank, but two companies known to do a lot of work in the city quickly stepped in to fill the war chest.

The city’s political action committee is leading the charge to get an income tax increase passed on Tuesday. To do so, it is spending a lot of money to reach voters through direct mailings, yard signs, T-shirts and literature. While the city’s recent Burgers, Brats and Beer fundraiser generated more than $7,000 for the campaign, it was Clemans Nelson & Associates and K.E. McCartney and Associates that gave the first donations.

Clemans Nelson, the law firm hired to represent the city in bargaining union negotiations, donated $1,000 while K.E. McCartney gave $2,500, said City Auditor Ted Pileski, the campaign’s treasurer.

Pileski said his campaign committee, Pileski for Elyria City Auditor, donated $500. The Grace for Elyria Committee also gave $500. The early donations were used to cover the purchase of signs and T-shirts in advance of the campaign’s formal fundraiser earlier this month. The money was needed because the committee’s war chest started with just $91, Pileski said. Campaign chairman and Councilman Kevin Brubaker, D-at large, said he did not personally ask for the contributions from Clemans Nelson and K.E. McCartney, although he knows feelers went out to a number of businesses and vendors that works with the city.

“I know they get business from the city, but I don’t think they donated because they get that business from the city and want to keep that business,” Brubaker said. “They want to support the city. They realize that they get business in Elyria and are just giving back.”

K.E. McCartney, which has offices in Elyria and Mansfield, recently was awarded a $100,000 engineering and design contract for the $1.7 million reconstruction project of West River Road North. But that is simply the latest work it has done – the company also provided construction management and inspection services for the Bullocks Industrial Parkway and led the design team for the Two Falls Trail at Cascade Park.

Clemans Nelson is used with regularity in contract negotiations and earned more than $400,000 for work done in Elyria in 2008. So far, the Elyrians First Committee has raised $14,370 with the bulk of that coming from the fundraiser. The event at the VFW raised $7,670 after expenses.

Pileski said the campaign has $3,145 left to spend. About $7,600 was spent on yard signs and the printing and postage of mailers and fact sheets. Another $1,116 is being spent on newspaper advertisements.

The city does not have to itemize donations of less than $25 for campaign finance reports. However, Pileski said ticket purchasers to the fundraiser included the Elyria Police Officers for Political Change Committee ($100), Councilman Tom Callahan, D-at large, ($40), and the political action committees Friends for Vic Stewart ($40), Talarek for County Treasurer ($40), and Re-elect Judge Betleski ($20).

Despite rumors that Brubaker is financially backing the Issue 10 campaign, he said he has not had money to give from his campaign fund, which is not being used because he lost his bid for re-election in the May primary.

“With all my contributions to other campaigns, I have pretty much drained my war chest,” he said. “Besides I told (Mayor Bill) Grace early on that I would not actively raise money for the campaign. I am the president of Little League East, and we are doing a $60,000 (fundraiser) ourselves. I would be asking the same local small businesses that contribute to Little League East and I, personally, am not going to the same local small businesses twice for donations.”

Brubaker said his financial contribution for the Elyrians First Committee was selling 35 $20 tickets to the fundraiser to family and friends.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.