Candidate who declined Schor's money accepted $5,000 from other PACs

Chamber, Realtors donated $5,000 to Tamera Carter


THURSDAY, Aug. 3  — Tamera Carter has made an issue of declining support from Lansing Mayor Andy Schor through his political action committee for her campaign for an at-large seat on the City Council.

“Elected office is an opportunity to represent the people," she said in declining Schor's support. "It is a privilege that should be earned through the trust of the people and the merit of the candidate.”

However, she had no problem accepting money from other political action committees for her candidacy in Tuesday’s primary election, campaign finance records show.

She accepted $4,000 from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and $1,000 from the Realtors political action committees. That $5,000 equals just under 44% of her  $11,448 total fundraising during the cycle that ended July 23.

Political action committees, candidates and community members have donated nearly $50,000 overall to campaigns in the city of Lansing’s First Ward and At-Large council races. Eight candidates are running for two at-large seats and three are seeking the First. Ward spot. Four at-large candidates will go on to compete in the November general election and two will do so in the First Ward contest.

A quarter of that money — $13,250 — came from PACS representing Realtors, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, and plumbers and carpenters.

Political action committees have been a hot topic in the city since Mayor Andy Schor began using his Andy Schor Leadership Fund, created in 2013, to support and raise money for candidates in the at-large race. He’s only endorsed Missy Lilje in that race and donated no money to her campaign. His PAC raised just $1,270 and spent $16.80, according to reports filed with the Michigan secretary of state.

At-Large candidate Trini Lopez Pehlivanoglu, who is the daughter of Lansing School Board member Guillermo Lopez, raised the most cash in the races for the Council. She reported $11,860. PAC cash accounted for $3,500 of her donations – 29.5% of her total take. However, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum informed her that she must return t a $2,400 donation from Abraham Real Estate, Inc. and $300 from Pehli Properties LLC because corporations are prohibited from donating to campaign committees under Michigan law. That’s 22.7% of her campaign funds.

Former First Ward Council Member Jody Washington reported $11,015.85 in funds raised. But her report shows $10,590.85, or just over 96% of her campaign cash, was a loan by her to the campaign. Her single largest donor was Rina Risper, editor and publisher of the New Citizen’s Press.

Schor-endorsed candidate Lilje raised $9,720. That was bolstered by $4,750 in PAC donations. The Plumbers PAC donated $2,250 while the Carpenters PAC gave her $2,500. That’s 48.8% of her total fundraising haul. Schor’s Mayoral campaign donated $100. Other notable donors include Lansing City Councilmember Peter Spadafore ($250), Andrea Crawford, former Neighborhood and Community Department leader under Schor ($250), and Kellie Dean, owner of Dean Transportation, ($500).

At-large candidate Farhan Sheikh-Omar reported $4,165 raised, with $2,900 of that a personal loan to his campaign. That’s 69.9% of his campaign funds.

The last three candidates appearing in the at-large race did not file campaign reports. Olivia Vaden has withdrawn, but she made the decision too late to remove her name from the ballot. Meanwhile, Nicklas Zande has filed no reports, and his previous exploration committee for the Second Ward received a reporting waiver, meaning he did not expect to spend or raise more than $1,000. He has not yet filed a candidate committee for his at-large race. Keshawn Mitchell-Roland continues to owe the Ingham County clerk $300 in campaign fees for failing to file his organizational paperwork on time.

In the First Ward, D. Taft received a reporting waiver. Incumbent Ryan Kost raised $600, $500 of which came in a donation from the Realtors PAC. He also had over $300 left over from his previous campaign that moved into this primary. And newcomer and challenger Michael VandeGuchte raised $320, $250 of that coming from a family member in Garden City.

Third Ward candidates incumbent Adam Hussain and challenger King L. Robertson were not required to file campaign finance reports on July 28, since both will automatically face each other in November. Hussain said he had approximately $1,000 cash on hand. Robertson is still in debt to the clerk related to failing to file campaign paperwork after he filed to enter the race.


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