Town seeks Marketplace’s campaign finance report |

Town seeks Marketplace’s campaign finance report

The Carbondale town clerk has ordered the developer of the Crystal River Marketplace to file a campaign finance report on Friday or show how it qualifies for an exemption.

Clerk Suzanne Cerise informed the attorney for developer Brian Huster of her conversation with an election official at the Colorado secretary of state’s office. She said the official told her the Marketplace likely falls under the guidelines of Amendment 27, which dictates campaign finance reporting requirements.

“Unless the CRMP can prove otherwise that they can qualify for an exemption from the Fair Campaign Practices Act, I will expect to have the necessary paper work by Friday, July 11, as that is the deadline to file before the election,” Cerise wrote to Eric Gross, Huster’s Carbondale attorney.

The developer’s team didn’t file a report on its expenditures last month because it said it was exempt from reporting as a corporation. John Tindall, a spokesman for Huster, said the marketplace would only have to file a campaign finance report if it had formed a committee to promote issues in the campaign. It didn’t form a committee and was simply a corporation spending funds to promote its business, he said.

When the Marketplace contended it was exempt, Cerise sought clarification from the secretary of state on the complicated issue. Tindall said the legal team for the Marketplace is evaluating Cerise’s letter. As of now, Huster is sticking to his position and doesn’t intend to file a report on his contributions and expenditures, according to Tindall.

The Marketplace is in a political fight for its life. The Town Council approved the 255,000-square-foot commercial development last February. It features a spot for a 125,000-square-foot big-box retailer.

Opponents collected enough signatures on a petition to force a vote on the approval. Election day is Tuesday.

The Marketplace has mounted a well-financed campaign featuring numerous newspaper advertisements. Foes felt Huster should have been forced to disclose how much he had spent when a campaign finance report was due on June 15 – one month before the election.

Tindall acknowledged that the state guidelines on campaign finance reporting can be confusing because of conflicting entries.

“There is some level of confusion over what applies and what doesn’t apply,” he said.

A ruling may be needed by an administrative law judge, but that won’t happen by Friday, said Tindall. He anticipated that the Marketplace attorneys will submit a letter to Cerise on Friday explaining their position.

[Scott Condon’s e-mail address is]

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