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Thu, Oct. 17

Wal-Mart committee faces fine

PRESCOTT VALLEY ‚ñ The campaign committee seeking voter approval of a Wal-Mart Supercenter at Glassford Hill Road and Lakeshore Drive faces a potential fine of up to $70,000 for violating a reporting requirement.

Town Clerk Diane Russell said pro-Wal-Mart group Friends of Prescott Valley, Yes on 400, submitted a campaign statement that lists no receipts and a debt of $33,313 for the Jan. 1 through Feb. 21 reporting period.

The municipal election manual, which follows state law, requires the committee to notify the clerk within 24 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, the first time it receives or spends $10,000 or more.

The potential fine is three times the difference of the improperly reported amount and $10,000, which in this case is $23,313.

ìIt could be a small error on our part. If so, we will certainly get it rectified,î said Kyle Moyer, owner of Kyle Moyer & Co., a Scottsdale-based public relations firm representing Friends of Prescott Valley.

Moyer said town officials had not notified his office of the alleged violation, however, he plans to call the town this morning.

Moyer also did not characterize the $33,313 as spending on the report because the two vendors ñ one for campaign signs and the other for ballot arguments ñ have not sent his company a bill.

ìI can only pay a bill that I received,î he said.

Moyer said the committee has complied with disclosure requirements by stating that Friends of Prescott Valley paid for advertising, with ìprimary fundingî from Wal-Mart.

However, Primary Consultants of Phoenix alleged in a Feb. 22 letter to Russell that Friends of Prescott Valley did not ìcorrectly and accurately disclose its major funding sourcesî on campaign literature, road signs, Web site and newspaper advertising. Primary Consultants represents Protect Prescott Valley, a union-sponsored group urging a ìnoî vote on Proposition 400.

A note to committee treasurer Scott Helfinstine from Chase Barrett acknowledges the debt. However, Barrett wrote, ìLet me reassure you that the committee has received funding from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. well in excess of the debt amount.î

Russell said she left a message with Barrett regarding the alleged violation.

Protect Prescott Valley accepted $4,300 during the reporting period from Local 99 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and paid $4,280 to Primary Consultants during the time frame.

A separate committee that favors Proposition 400, the Prescott Valley Economic Prosperity Committee, reported receiving and spending no money during the period.

A ìyesî vote on Proposition 400 upholds a Town Council decision to rezone 19.5 acres to allow the Wal-Mart. Protect Prescott Valley qualified Proposition 400 for the municipal, mail-only ballot.

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