Zimmer's treasurer releases refund letters in response to opponent’s criticisms over possible pay-to-play violations
Aug 08, 2013 | 3808 views | 0 0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HOBOKEN – The treasurer for the Friends of Dawn Zimmer, the Hoboken mayor’s political action group running her reelection campaign, said Thursday that the group had released letters from the group to Bernard Kenny and Boswell Engineering refunding their recent political contributions, which violated the city’s pay-to-play ordinance.

Kenny, a former state Senator and partner at the Hoboken-based law firm Florio & Kenny, LLP, and Boswell Engineering both have professional service contracts with the city. Kenny donated $150 on April 4, while Boswell donated $150 on March 14. With the addition of those contributions, both vendors reached an aggregate amount of $450.

On Wednesday, Eduardo Gonzalez, a city council candidate running with Zimmer’s only challenger thus far, state Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, filed a complaint over the violations with the city’s pay-to-play compliance officer. Ramos criticized the mayor for not practicing the reform policies she often preaches, accusing her of having an attitude of “do as I say, not as I do.”

When questioned about the contributions, Zimmer said that they had been refunded, although the refunds were not noted on her July 15 Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) filing. On Wednesday, she said that her treasurer would respond.

The letters, written by the campaign’s treasurer Drew Moss, are both dated July 25, which is still outside the 45-day grace period candidates are allowed to return potentially illegal contributions. However, they do make clear that both vendors had reached their contribution limits.

“While we always welcome you to join us for all upcoming fundraising events, please disregard future solicitations which may be sent to you in error,” Moss wrote. “No further contributions may be accepted in this election cycle.”

In a statement, Moss also said that one of the Zimmer campaign’s top priorities is adhering to all state and municipal pay-to-play codes. He pointed out that legally, following pay-to-play codes is the responsibility of the vendor, but that the campaign keeps a close eye on all of its contributions.

“While the pay-to-play reform law makes the vendor responsible for tracking contributions and requesting any needed refunds, our policy is to proactively return excess contributions as soon as identified,” he said. – Dean DeChiaro

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