Osborne: No improper handling of Bailey report

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 1, 2001

[06/01/01] City Clerk Walter Osborne said Thursday that there was nothing improper in how his office handled the campaign finance report of a South Ward candidate.

Osborne said that after further investigation in his office, it was determined that the spending report of independent candidate Vickie Bailey had been delivered to City Hall around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, which would have been four and a half hours before the deadline, but that it had not been identified as campaign material.

“I don’t see how she can say that it was mishandled,” he said.

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Bailey, who was not available, said Wednesday that her spending report had been turned in to the clerk’s office on time and that it was not made available to the public Tuesday because it was “mishandled.”

According to Osborne, the report was given to deputy clerk Barbara Luke by Betty Tolliver in an unmarked envelope. Luke said she was asked to give the envelope to Osborne, but was not told what was inside.

The envelope, which was put on Osborne’s desk, was not discovered until Wednesday morning. Osborne said that if Tolliver or Bailey had said that the report was in the envelope, they would have opened it and marked it as being received Tuesday.

“We’re here to be fair and we’re trying to be fair,” Osborne said. “We’re trying to do things according to the law and in no way were we trying to misrepresent a candidate.”

He said that the report would be dated as received Tuesday at 12:30 and would be forwarded to the Secretary of State’s Office with the other reports.

Candidates who spend more than $200 on a campaign are required to file a series of reports with the clerk’s office. The only penalty for failing to turn in a report is that a candidate cannot take office or be paid until a report is filed.

Independent candidates Sylvester Walker, 40, who is seeking the North Ward alderman’s post, and Ashlea Mosley, 18, who is vying for the South Ward seat, did not turn in finance reports to the clerk’s office.

Walker brought a copy of his campaign report to The Vicksburg Post Thursday indicating that he had spent $4,704 and raised $4,704 in his first bid for public office. His opponent in that race, incumbent Gertrude Young, 45, who won the Democratic nomination, spent $5,229 and raised $5,535.

According to the report, Walker received funds in the amount of $25 from David Dabney, $500 from Michael Winfield, $100 from Mark Hampton, $200 from W.B. Hopson Jr., $200 from Don Miller, $200 from Mrs. W.B. Hopson, $1,179 from The Lawrence Hardge Foundation and $2,400 in his own name.

The report did not include an itemized list of spending.

In other races to be decided by Vicksburg voters Tuesday, independent candidate Laurence Leyens, 37, spent $88,066 and raised $89,068 on his bid for mayor. Mayor Robert Walker, 57, the Democratic nominee, spent $17,313 and raised $18,867 while independent candidates Eva Marie Ford, 63, spent $1,715 and raised $925 and former mayor Joe Loviza spent $5,876 and raised $6,015.

In the South Ward, Bailey spent $1,786 and raised $25, Republican nominee Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 53, spent $9,201 and raised $10,325 while Democratic candidate Pam Johnson, 35, and spent $4,962 and raised $2,375 in the race.