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Finance reports show debt

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Several who ran for council still managing campaign expenditures

Semi-annual campaign reports filed with the Denton city secretary show some elected officials are still managing campaign debt into the waning days of their terms. Others missed the July 15 filing deadline altogether.

In addition, reports showed that City Council member Joey Hawkins was able to fill his coffers with pledged contributions after spending close to $8,000 on his campaign to replace Chris Watts in District 4.

One of those was a $589 in-kind contribution from Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kamp, who, on her semi-annual report, listed the expenses for an event she hosted announcing Hawkins’ candidacy.

Only one other council member was able to raise enough money to cover campaign costs — District 2 representative Dalton Gregory.

Other members of the Denton City Council continue to carry loans on their semi-annual reports, with Mayor Mark Burroughs carrying the most, at more than $30,000. District 3 council member Jim Engelbrecht is carrying about $1,300 from his third and final race. Kamp is carrying a $2,500 loan. All three will not be eligible to run again when their terms end — less than a year away for Burroughs and Kamp.

Council member Kevin Roden, who had no challenger in his re-election this spring, filed a semi-annual report showing he maintained a loan balance of $2,277.

The report was filed one day late. He said he was on “baby watch” in the week prior to the filing deadline.

“Had my wife not had a baby on Monday, I would have gotten it in on time,” Roden said.

At-large council member James King has closed out his war chest and was not required to file a report, according to City Secretary Jennifer Walters.

Burroughs has been carrying a loan balance of about $30,000 since he won the mayoral race in 2008. It remains one of the most expensive races in the city’s history.

Burroughs and former Mayor Perry McNeill had spent more than $120,000 between them in a bitter contest for the chair. Burroughs outspent McNeill nearly 2 to 1, raising more than $43,000 in contributions but also reporting $37,700 in loans that year.

Burroughs said the money represents a loan he made to himself, and he maintains the balance in his semi-annual reports to be able to retire it.

However, because he asked so many friends for money during the first race, “I couldn’t see hitting them up again,” he said.

Several recent City Council candidates also filed semi-annual reports. Records show several are maintaining balances that could be used in future races, including Brendan Carroll, who was not able to unseat Engelbrecht this year in District 3; David Zoltner, who lost by a narrow margin to Kamp in an at-large race last year; and Hatice Salih, who ran unsuccessfully for a district race in 2009 and at-large in 2010.

From district races this spring, Al Sanchez reported no new contributions or spending, zeroing out his balance for an unsuccessful run against Gregory. Phil Kregel, Griffen Rice and Travis Trawick did not file semi-annual reports.

Neither Rice nor Trawick, both University of North Texas students, opted for modified reporting, which is essentially a pledge not to receive or spend more than $500 and thus become exempt from filing the multiple, detailed reports. Trawick withdrew from active campaigning early in the race, and reported zero contributions and expenses during the spring. Rice reported just $50 in expenses this spring.

One-time mayoral candidate, Bob Clifton, also missed the deadline. Semi-annual reports were due to the city for his failed mayoral run and for the activities of a special-purpose committee, the Watch Dog Society.

Clifton said Thursday that he had forgotten about the July 15 deadline. He also needed to submit a semi-annual report to the Texas Ethics Commission, too, he said, since he registered a political action committee with the commission and later mailed a postcard to District 4 voters, opposing Hawkins’ candidacy.

“I guess I better take care of it this afternoon,” Clifton said.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.