Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Help Me Howard: Printer & Politician
Sometimes it cost policiticans a lot of money to get elected. Raising money to pay for campaign materials and ads, but one South Florida businessman has filed a complaint with the state accusing one candidate of closing up. Closed up his campaign without paying his bills. Can a losing candidate get away with it? Here is Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- From business cards to brochures to big murals, Jiffi Print does them all.
Raed Bakouni: "This is actually done on vinyl material."
Most of Raed's customers are businesses printing up notepads for their customers, prescription pads for doctors, advertisements for realtors and occassionally signs for politician.
Raed Bakouni: "Manny wanted some banners. He wanted some flyers, some signs for his car, magnetic signs."
Manny Torres was one of 13 candidates running for a Margate commission seat this year, using Youtube to get his message out and hiring Jiffi Print to put together about $2,000 worth of campaign materials.
Raed Bakouni: "He paid partial. He would come in and say 'Here is $200. I will pay you next week. I will pay you the week after.'"
Then in January, the people of Margate went to the polls and voted. Torres lost badly, finishing 11th out of 13 candidates. Raed says he didnt realize it but he lost that day as well.
Raed Bakouni: "Basically he owed some money. The election was over and he disappeared."
Raed said Torres owes the print shop $680. So he started calling him and didnt get far.
Raed Bakouni: "I call him on some employees cell phones so he can answer the phone cause when he sees Jiffi Print he doesnt answer the phone."
Torres ran on a campaign promising jobs, businesses and to make property values go up, but Raed says he broke the promise he made him..
Raed Bakouni: "He broke my trust and thats one of the words he used, trust me I will take care of you. I will pay you."
But according to Raed, he did not pay him and now he is left with a question. With the election over, does the loser still have to pay his or her election bills Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes you do. In fact, before you close your campaign account by law, all bills must be paid. And if the candidate closes the account before all the bills are paid, the candidate is personally responsible for paying those bills."
The first conversation between Manny Torres and I was pretty short. Torres told me I dont watch Channel 7, I dont know who you are so go interview somebody else.
The next time it was better, Torres told me that he had paid Raed everything he owed for the campaign materials. Claiming on his campaign treasurers report that he had paid Jiffi Print over $3,000.
Raed says the report is wrong. That Jiffi Print only did $2,000 worth of work and Torres still owes part of that. Howard says it might be time for the state to sort it out.
Howard Finkelstein: "The candidate faces two problems. First of all, a $1,000 fine if a printing bill is outstanding and not paid. The bigger problem, if the state determines there the campaign reports has unintentional mistakes, thats a violation and a fine. If they were intentional misrepesentations, thats a crime and you can go to jail."
Raed has now filed a complaint with the florida elections commission, writing Torres claimed payments to Jiffi Print that were never made and not paying for campaign signs that were delivered. The state is now investigating. Raed says it all could have been resolved easily.
Raed Bakouni: "Stop by, give me a check or cash, take care of his bill and thats it."
Patrick Fraser: "If a candidate for an office asks you to do work for them, the state law requires that they pay you in full when they pick up the product or you do the work. If they want to pay you later when they raise more money, remind paying in full is the law."
Feel like you are printing problems prolifically ready to campaign for a solution elect to go with us.
We wont ask for money. Wont ask for a vote, Just ask to let us help you.