Campaign complaints dismissed against North Adams mayor
NORTH ADAMS — The Office of Campaign and Political Finance has dismissed a complaint against Mayor Richard Alcombright that alleged he paid below fair market value for his campaign headquarters last year.
In a decision issued last month, OCPF Director Michael Sullivan wrote that Alcombright's $500 per month payment for his 67 Main St. headquarters was consistent with state campaign finance law, which would have required the Alcombright campaign to report the space as an "in-kind" contribution if rented for less than market value.
But in investigating the complaint, Sullivan wrote that the OCPF found that the former restaurant space — owned by Scarafoni Associates — had been vacant for some time before Alcombright used it from early September to early November, and remains vacant to this day.
"David Carver, the landlord's representative, confirmed that the company regularly rents vacant storefronts in the downtown area on a short-term or day-to-day basis for less than what it would charge a long-term tenant to encourage foot traffic in the area," Sullivan wrote.
The decision also notes that, under the lease agreement, Alcombright's campaign was prohibited from utilizing the commercial kitchen in the rear of the space and was required to display "for lease" signs in the windows.
Scarafoni also maintained the right to vacate the premises, with 24 hours of notice, if it found a long-term tenant.
"We produced what we thought was certainly a credible statement that basically proved that we did the right thing," Alcombright told The Eagle on Friday. "I'll stand by the credibility of my campaign."
The decision does not indicate who made the original complaint.
Former Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi's campaign was fined $1,000 last year after a similar complaint alleged he underpaid for his headquarters without listing them as an in-kind contribution on campaign finance reports. Bianchi paid about $150 per month for his Elm Street space.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376
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