Nineteen people — not all Arvada residents — signed a complaint filed with the Arvada city clerk Dec. 3 regarding campaign contributions accepted by Marc Williams, who was reelected as mayor Nov. …
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UPDATE: On Dec. 20 the Arvada City Clerk and City Attorney sent their 'Review and determination" report about the election finance complaint to Mayor Marc Williams. The report concludes that the allegations in the complaint, even if all true, would not violate city code. Read that story here.
Nineteen people — not all Arvada residents — signed a complaint filed with the Arvada city clerk Dec. 3 regarding campaign contributions accepted by Marc Williams, who was reelected as mayor Nov. 5.
Resident Cindi Kreutzer filed the complaint, citing “numerous questionable contributions” listed on Williams' campaign finance forms. Kreutzer acted as campaign manager to Harriet Hall, one of Williams' two opponents, in the 2019 mayoral election.
Kreutzer filed the complaint because “I care about Arvada and how it is managed will determine its future,” she said.
Kreutzer's letter stated that she and those signing believed Williams' acceptance of certain contributions violated the state's Fair Campaign Practices Act, as well as Arvada's campaign finance laws, which prohibit individuals or entities from contributing more than $750 to a mayoral campaign.
Contributions were made to Williams' campaign by multiple individuals with connections to developer Remington Homes, which has built houses in Arvada, including in the Candelas area.
President Regan Hauptman, founder Paul Hauptman, several family members to the Hauptmans and other Remington Homes employees each contributed $750 to the campaign.
“We question if these contributions all came from one entity, using individuals as a technical loophole to meet contribution rules,” the complaint said.
Another point of concern in the complaint points to 10 LLCs, all listed at the same address in the Centennial and Englewood area, that each donated $750 to Williams' campaign. Chris Elliott, owner of 7353 Investments, is the registered agent for all 10 LLCs.
The complaint referenced a portion of state law that prohibits “the aggregate amount of contributions from multiple liability companies attributed to a single member” from exceeding contribution limits. It implied that, because Elliott is the registered agent for each of the 10 groups, the total contributed by the groups should not exceed the Arvada limit of $750.
However, the complaint acknowledged, “it is difficult to decipher” whether the state rule applies to Arvada specifically.
Arvada is a home rule city, meaning it has the power to set its own guidelines for municipal elections, as described in the Colorado Secretary of State Rules Concerning Campaign and Political Finance.
But even if the state statute were to apply, Williams said he believes the contributions comply with the law. When making the contributions, Elliott informed Williams that the LLCs were “not single-member entities,” Williams said. “There are other members of each of them.”
Williams says he has known Elliott for years, as the city has worked with some of the LLCs he is associated with. “He (Elliott) was able to get those different entities to contribute to the campaign.”
The LLCs associated with Elliott include Ralston Ridge LLC, SSM Ridge LLC and RRCEA LLC. The three groups were the developers for Arvada developments Ralston Ridge, Haskins Station and certain Leyden Rock developments, respectively.
All three developments have already been approved by the city, and currently, council has no upcoming plans to hear about future projects for the 10 LLCs, Williams said.
The contributions referenced in the complaint account for $19,500, according to Kreutzer. In total, Williams raised roughly $62,000 for his campaign.
The 10 candidates in Arvada's four races — the mayoral, district 2, district 4 and at-large races — collectively raised about $160,000, with Williams raising the most.
No other candidate raised more than $25,000. Williams' opponent, Hall, as well as District 2 candidate T.O. Owens and District 4 candidate David Jones, raised around $24,000 each. All other candidates raised less than $10,000.
Remington Homes, Regan Hauptman and nine LLCs associated with Elliott also contributed to Owens' campaign. Ten such LLCs contributed to the Jones campaign.
Elliott and Regan Hauptman did not respond for comment.
Williams said he believes the developers chose to support him because of his stance on development and his experience; he has served eight years as mayor and 12 as an at-large council member.
“It's no secret I'm opposed to growth caps,” he said. “The development community thinks it's better to have a mayor in support of smart growth.”
He added that he does “not believe these people are buying access or influencing my decision-making.”
“I've got a long track record of treating people fairly,” he said. “I will still fight for what's right in Arvada.”
The city attorney and city clerk will review the citizens' complaint and determine whether it is valid, he said.
If it is valid, the city will hold a hearing within 60 days. Should Williams be found in violation during the hearing, a civil penalty will be imposed. Penalties are on a case-by-case basis, with the minimum penalty being a fine of double the amount of contributions in violation. In Williams' case, that would potentially be a minimum fine of $39,000.
Williams was told the decision to hold a hearing would be made within this week, he said. “I'm fully confident I've complied with Arvada's campaign finance requirements.”
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