BoE candidates’ financials show price of politics
by Michelle Babcock
April 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 3881 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the May 20 Republican primary election nears, some candidates running to fill the four Cherokee County School Board seats up for election this year chose to spend hefty sums on campaign consultants, while others chose to focus their campaign funds on the basics.

Candidates are required to file campaign disclosure reports, declaring finances associated with their races for the public to see, which were published online at

Some candidates chose to finance their own campaigns, while others have garnered thousands in campaign contributions — both large and small.

One candidate shows thousands in campaign expenditures going to a new political consulting firm, created in February and run by embattled long-time political consultant Robert Trim. Another candidate in District 3 spent thousands on a Cobb County consulting firm.

District 3

In the District 3 School Board race between John Harmon and Brett Ladd, Harmon brought in the most money in contributions from outside sources, while Ladd had the most money to work with after lending himself money for the campaign.

As of March 31, Harmon had garnered $3,190 in campaign contributions, including $1,000 from a

company he owns, and had $550.21 in cash on hand, after $2,639.79 in total expenses to date.

Harmon’s largest campaign contribution of $1,000 was listed under H and J Foods LLC, which is the company Harmon owns and operates.

Other large contributions to Harmon’s campaign came from Wayne and Jeannette Harmon, who gave $500, Mika and Anne Davis, who gave $150 and John Konop, who gave $100 in cash and $300 in an in-kind contribution.

Harmon also received more than $1,200 in separate contributions of $100 or less as of the March 31 deadline for reporting contributions, the report showed

Ladd listed $12,716 in total cash contributions as of the March 31 deadline, with $6,378 in cash on hand after $5,978 in expenditures.

On Ladd’s disclosure report, he listed a $216 cash contribution to himself using a Canton address, and a $1,425 in-kind contribution to himself for three months of rent, phone and Internet, using a Woodstock address.

The bulk of Ladd’s campaign funds, $12,500, was funds the candidate loaned to himself.

When it comes to campaign expenses reported up until March 31, Harmon spent the largest sums of his campaign money on signs and yard signs, spending $1,351 total.

Other expenses for Harmon include his qualifying fee, website renewal ($120), car magnets ($245), push cards ($246) and T-shirts ($305).

Ladd’s largest expenditures went to 2g Strategies LLC, a consulting firm, totaling more than $5,000.

Based on the disclosure report, Ladd gave the firm $2,475 for equipment, software, database and mailing lists. The firm also helped Ladd with political consulting, to the tune of $1,500.

Other expenses Ladd listed as going to the firm include: printing and campaign materials ($970) and a voter database ($158).

He also spent $875 on printing and yard signs, the disclosure shows.

Ladd was listed as the chair of his campaign committee, with Amy Hernandez acting as treasurer. Harmon listed Carol Taylor as the committee chair for his campaign, and Lauren Harmon as his treasurer.

District 4

In the race for the District 4 School Board seat, Rick Steiner, the only incumbent running for school board in May, received more than a thousand dollars in contributions as of March 31, while challenger Robert Strozier listed none on his report.

As of March 31, Steiner had garnered $1,645 in total contributions to-date, with $671.83 in expenditures so far and $973.17 in cash on hand.

The bulk of Steiner’s contributors gave $100 or less, totaling $1,195 of his campaign funds as of March 31.

Steiner had two larger contributors, one of whom was state Sen. Brandon Beach (R- Alpharetta), who gave $250 to the campaign. John Konop was Steiner’s other large contributor, donating $200 in cash and $200 in an in-kind donation, by hosting a meet and greet for the candidate.

On Strozier’s disclosure report, he listed $716 in total contributions to-date, all of which he loaned himself for the campaign.

Strozier had $500 cash on hand as of March 31, with just $216 in campaign expenses. Strozier’s sole campaign expenditure to-date was the $216 spent for his qualifying fee.

Steiner’s only expense to date went to the Sign Rocket company, totaling $610.

Jennifer Hall was listed as both Steiner’s committee chair and treasurer, and Strozier listed his wife, Tracie Strozier as both his committee chair and treasurer.

District 5

In the District 5 School Board race, candidates Clark Menard and Erica Williams differ significantly in their campaign disclosure reports.

Menard listed $2,835 in contributions to date, with $1,017.80 in expenditures so far and $1,817.20 cash on hand.

About half of Menard’s funds came from separate contributions of $100 or less, totaling $1,405 as of March 31.

His largest contribution came from Kim Shotts, who gave $500. Menard loaned himself $300 in January to begin the campaign and another $215 for his qualifying fee.

Other large contributions came from McElroy Industries ($300) and Beach ($250).

Menard also listed two in-kind contributions — one from Christine Rea, the creator of the group SCRAM, or Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter, the group previously known as Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow.

Rea contributed $150 in-kind to Menard’s campaign, in the form of the rental of a clubhouse for a meet and greet event for the candidate.

Jump Kitchen & Sport’s Saloon was also listed on Menard’s disclosure for a $163.72 in-kind donation, for providing food for the meet and greet event.

Williams, in contrast, listed zero contributions to-date, and noted $266 in money she loaned herself for the campaign.

Williams claimed to have zero cash on hand, after two campaign expenditures totaling the amount she loaned herself — her qualifying fee of $216 and $50 to open her “Williams for Schools” account at Wells Fargo bank in Woodstock.

However, a fundraising website set up to collect contributions for Williams’ campaign shows $270 in donations made through the site to her campaign, which are not listed on her disclosure report.

The Williams For Schools campaign website has a link to the fundraiser page that lists the name of the contributor and amount of contribution, which can be found at

Menard’s largest expense so far was for $705 in signs. Other expenses Menard listed include his qualifying fee ($216) and website and domain name ($106.56).

Menard’s committee chair is listed as Christine Rea, with Kelly Poole named as the treasurer. Williams said she did not have a campaign committee.

District 6

Both District 6 School Board candidates, Susie Tlacil and Mike Chapman, have received and spent significant campaign funds in the race for the open Board of Education seat.

Tlacil reported $5,153 in total campaign contributions to date, with $4,643 in expenditures and $509.57 in cash on hand.

The majority of Tlacil’s campaign funds came from money she loaned herself for the race, totaling $4,000.

The largest outside contribution to Tlacil’s campaign came in the form of $350 worth of bumper stickers, donated by pest control company Pied Piper.

The largest cash donations to Tlacil included: $250 from Lacey Reaid, $250 from Anne Rothschild, and $100 donations from Herb Alfred, Galina Moore and John Gaines.

Tlacil also listed $353 in separate contributions of $100 or less.

Chapman reported $8,365 in contributions so far, with $1,390 cash on hand after $6,974.98 in total expenditures to-date.

A large sum of Chapman’s campaign funds came from donations of $100 or less, totaling $3,595, but the candidate also boasted a large number of big contributions from many prominent Cherokee County residents.

Among Chapman’s top contributors were Col. George Baily, an attorney with Flint, Connolly & Walker, LLP, who gave $500 total to the campaign, and Betty Roach, the wife of School Board Attorney Tom Roach, who also gave $500 to the campaign.

Other large contributions came from former educators, influential business people in the county and government members, including: $300 from Janice Prather, $200 from Randy Martin, $200 from Mayor Rick Roberts, $200 from Mayor Gene Hobgood, $250 from Dennis Burnette, $250 from Ned Castleberry, $200 from Bill Grant, $250 from John Blend, $250 from Tamela Rogers, $250 from Sharon Ware and $300 from Billy Hasty.

Chapman also loaned himself $1,000 for his campaign in January.

When it came to campaign expenditures, Tlacil spent the bulk of her funds with The Strategic Integration Alliance LLC, a business that registered with the Secretary of State’s Office in February this year.

Trim is listed as the sole owner of The Strategic Integration Alliance, Secretary of State’s Office records show.

Trim, who is also the political consultant for District 1 School Board member Kelly Marlow, has been a controversial figure for years. He is now facing felony charges for lying to police, along with Marlow and the secretary for the Cherokee County GOP, Barbara Knowles.

Tlacil listed $4,643.43 total expenditures to date, with the bulk of that money going to Trim’s business.

With Strategic Integration Alliance, Tlacil spent $3,000 for business cards, photography, lapel stickers, yard signs and consulting, and another $500 on T-shirts and magnets.

Other listed expenditures for Tlacil’s campaign included $500 to INKO Creative Imaging for logo and website development, and her $216 qualifying fee.

Chapman listed $6,974.98 in campaign expenditures to date.

Chapman’s largest expenditure went to the graphics firm MOJO Productions in Canton. Chapman spent a total of $4,918.68 on design and production of business cards, magnets, push cards, stickers, a banner, T-shirts, yard signs and large yard signs.

Besides his qualifying fee, Chapman’s other expenses included: $671 for design and publishing of magazine ads, $147 to purchase postage for mailings, $303 for room rental and food for a fundraiser at Downtown Kitchen, $450 to purchase an ad in the newspaper and $173.76 to design and produce magnets.

Chapman lists his wife, Mary Chapman, as his campaign committee chair, and Burnette, Cherokee County chair of Hamilton Bank, as his treasurer.

Tlacil lists herself as her campaign committee chair, and her husband Michael Tlacil as the treasurer.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Gray Grandmother
April 12, 2014
A test of a good candidate is his/her stewardship of campaign funds. Reading over the above, it is easy for me to choose Harmon, Steiner, Menard and Chapman for the Board. Thanks to the Tribune for providing transparency.
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