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Fri, Feb. 21

Pro-Wal-Mart committee pays late fine

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ The committee that prevailed in the March 13 election on favoring a Wal-Mart supercenter raised more than $300,000 from Wal-Mart and the Fain Signature Group during the post-primary reporting period.

Friends of Prescott Valley ­

Yes on 400 reported receiving separate contributions from Wal-Mart Stores of Bentonville, Ark., at $100,000 on March 9, $116,100 March 12 and about $59,558 March 16, and $25,000 from the Prescott Valley-based Fain group March 9. The committee also reported spending $266,243 during the Feb. 22 to April 2 reporting period.

By contrast, the union-backed group that urged a "no" vote on Proposition 400, Protect Prescott Valley, reported receiving only $1,500 from Local 99 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and spending about $1,486 during that time frame.

Protect Prescott Valley's report arrived via certified mail Monday at the office of Town Clerk Diane Russell, and met the deadline because it carried a postmark from this past Thursday. Friends of Prescott Valley faxed its report this past Thursday, but Russell said that she could not accept it because Friends had not paid the $10 a day late fine.

Town Attorney Ivan Legler required Friends to submit an amended report for the pre-primary reporting period of Jan. 1 to Feb. 21 because he determined the previously submitted report was incomplete.

An attorney representing Friends, Donald Peters of Miller, LaSota & Peters PLC of Phoenix, followed up on the rejected fax by submitting documents and an accompanying letter dated this past Thursday via certified mail. The package also arrived Monday.

Peters indicated in the letter to Russell that the Friends committee submitted the amended report and paid a late fee of $440 "under protest."

He stated, "There is no basis for requiring an amended report or a late fee in this case because the original Pre-Primary Election Report was legally sufficient."

The committee hired Peters' law firm after Legler sent the committee a letter alleging that the committee violated state law on disclosing contributions. Legler had responded to complaints that Primary Consultants, a Phoenix-based political consulting firm representing Protect Prescott Valley, had filed with the town.

Legler issued an order dated April 2 in which he notified committee members that they faced a $30,000 fine but had the right to challenge the penalty.

Peters followed up in a letter dated this past Thursday in which he challenged the legality of Legler presiding over a hearing, contending Legler would be both prosecutor and judge. With the challenge, the group has not paid the $30,000 fine.

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