Sept. 25 2015 06:10 AM

Third Ward Council race heats up with attack mailer

, Sept. 25 — Southwest Lansing residents received a political mailer Thursday accusing Third Ward City Council candidate Adam Hussain of being a puppet of his mother, First Ward Councilmember Jody Washington.

The mailer was paid for by Capitol Region Progress, a shadowy political group registered with the IRS as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization. The organization used similar tactics in 2014 against Ingham County Commissioner Deb Nolan, who was reelected, and in 2013 against Brian Jeffries, who was defeated for City Council.

“Adam Hussain wants you to believe be supports ‘change,’” the front of the red and black mailer reads. The back includes a digitally manipulated image of Washington as a marionettist controlling her son, who is depicted as a puppet.

“Who’s really pulling the strings?” the mailing asks.

Hussain is posing a strong challenge to incumbent challenger A’Lynne Boles in the Nov. 3 General Election.

Reached by phone, Hussain called the mailing “a distraction.”

The mailer attacked Hussain by tying him to his mother’s record, which is depicted as opposing “progress and job creation.” It also alleges Hussain “brags about sending his kids to a school outside the Lansing School District because of political disagreements.”

Hussain called the allegations “lies.”

Hussain said he and his wife moved his children to Okemos schools for logistical reasons because his wife teaches there. Hussain teaches at Waverly Middle School. He said getting them to Lansing schools was a “logistical nightmare.”

However, in a November 2014 op-ed piece in the Lansing State Journal about concerns about the management of the Lansing school system, Hussain wrote: “I recently made the difficult decision to remove my daughter from the LSD … . I could not continue to allow my love for Lansing to be her demise.”

He said he stands by the opinion piece, but he added, “If my wife was still teaching at Cavanaugh (Elementary School), my daughter would still be in the Lansing School District.”

Boles’ daughter attends a private school in Lansing.

As for the claim Washington “stands in the way of progress,” he pointed to the millions of dollars in development approved in the First Ward.

“Sometimes I think she’s doing too good of a job,” said Hussain, who is campaigning on bringing more development dollars to southwest Lansing.

As for being depicted as a puppet to his mother, he said, “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“Look, when we get on the dais, we’re going to be fighting for our wards,” he said. “I will be there fighting for southwest Lansing. That means my mother and I will be fighting for limited resources.”

For her part, Washington joined with her son and accused Boles of being involved in the mailer.

“Clearly, Ms. Boles has no confidence in her eight-year record,” she said in a phone interview. “I find it pathetic that she has to stoop to such lowly tactics.”

Capitol Region Progress lists Moreno Taylor as its president in its 2013 tax -filing, called a 990. That filing showed the organization raised just over $78,000 last year and spent just over $72,000.

In a phone interview tonight, Taylor said he was “unsure” what his involvement in the organization was. He said he would call back with more information.

Taylor has been employed by the political consulting and public relations firm Grassroots Midwest since Oct. 1, 2013, according a post on the agency’s Facebook page.