Former candidate: Newberry violated election rules |

Former candidate: Newberry violated election rules

A former Grand County commissioner candidate raised concerns about campaign contributions to Grand County Commissioner James Newberry during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Newberry did not register a candidate committee in either election, which made him ineligible to accept campaign contributions.

Chas McConnell presented the Sky-Hi News with a copy of a $300 check from developer Scott Bradley to Newberry dated Sept. 26, 2012.

McConnell lost to Newberry in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Bradley, a Denver-based developer, confirmed that the check was a campaign contribution.

“He was running for office, and there would be no way I would be able to pay him for anything else because it would be a conflict of interest,” Bradley said.

Records from Wells Fargo furnished by McConnell show that the check was deposited into a personal account.

Newberry declined to comment for this article, citing an ongoing investigation by the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s office.

On Oct. 23 2012, a water and sanitation service plan for Red Hawk Ranch, Bradley’s Tabernash development, came before the board of commissioners.

County Planner Kris Manguso and staff recommended that the board table the plan for additional review.

After amending the plan to accommodate ongoing negotiations between the Red Hawk Ranch district and Tabernash Meadows Water and Sanitation District, Newberry made a motion to approve the new district, which passed unanimously.

Bradley said that the contribution was in no way a quid-pro-quo for his upcoming hearing, pointing out that he made a $300 contribution to McConnell.

McConnell recalled receiving a check for $300 from an associate of Bradley.

Records from the secretary of state indicate McConnell received two checks for $300 in October and December 2012.

Bradley could not immediately be reached to clarify whether either check was given on his behalf.

“I wasn’t trying to seek approval, and we don’t have a personal relationship,” Bradley said of the contribution.

Bradley contributed to all of Newberry’s campaigns “in the last 12 years,” including in 2008, he said.

Newberry reported no contributions in expenditure reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office during both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

McConnell registered more than $6,500 in campaign contributions in the 2012 election.

Tim Griesmer, a spokesman with secretary of state’s office, said failing to disclose campaign contributions likely violates statute 1-45-108 of Colorado’s election law, which dictates the reporting requirements for candidate committees.

“Under the Colorado constitution anyone who is accepting a donation as a candidate is accepting a donation for a candidate committee,” Griesmer said.

The violations are only actionable if reported within 180 days of the offense, Griesmer said.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334

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