Developers invested in campaigns

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Real estate developers, builders and contractors from across Hampton Roads made major campaign contributions to the candidates that ran in last month’s Suffolk City Council race.

In the second round of campaign finance reports filed last week with the city’s voter registrar, candidates reported receiving significant contributions from businesses within the construction industry. The reports show contributions made from late April to mid-June.

Builders were also the big spenders in the first campaign finance report that candidates filed in April. Neighboring cities reported similar findings.

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Finance reports filed last week show:

nCouncilman-elect Bobby Ralph, who will assume the vacancy created when Councilman Thomas Woodward steps down June 30, received $3,200 in contributions between May 1-June 10.

Five of the seven major contributions came from the building industry. Virginia Beach contractor Preston Fussell, a Virginia Beach contractor, donated $500; Suffolk contractor Jay Annas, $150; Beco Construction Inc. of Chesapeake, $250; Tidewater Builders Association,

$500; and Hampton Roads Realtors Association, $500.

Since the campaign began, Ralph reported receiving $9,684 in contributions and spending $8,509 on his successful bid for office.

nThe other newcomer on council, Calvin Jones, who will replace Vice

Mayor Rufus Powell, reported contributions totaling $2,270 on his second

report. Jones recorded a $500 contribution from Beco Construction Inc.; $500, the

Tidewater Association of

Realtors; and $600 from DBA J. Enterprises, his wife’s real estate acquisition and appraisal company.

Jones reported $7,971 in contributions. According to the report, Jones, who had three opponents, invested $6,447 in his campaign.

nPowell, in his unsuccessful campaign for a second term representing Holy Neck, reported receiving a $500 contribution from the Tidewater Association of Realtors and $150, Retail Merchants Alliance in Norfolk.

Powell’s fund-raising efforts brought in campaign contribution totaling $4,506. Nearly all of it – $3,885 – was spent on his campaign.

nCouncilman Dana Dickens, who was unopposed in his bid to represent Chuckatuck for a second term, reported receiving only one additional contribution in May: a $150 from the Retail Merchants Alliance in Norfolk.

Dickens raised a total of $11,495 in campaign contributions, which probably included money left over from his first run for council. His finance report indicates he spent a total of $3,375 on his campaign.

nCouncilman Charles F. Brown, who was elected to a third term representing the Cypress district, reported receiving an additional $385 in contributions.

Of that, $250 came from Beco Construction. Brown reported receiving $8,606 in contributions, nearly all of which was used on his campaign for reelection. The only exception was $824, which he rolled over into a new account for a future campaign.

Candidates can do one of three things with any money left after funding their campaigns, said Patsy Parker, the city’s registrar. The money can be set

aside for a future campaign for public office, given to another candidate for the same use, or donated to a non-profit organization.

Powell, for example, opted to give his extra funds – about $621 – to the Bethlehem Ruritan Club.

Candidates are required to submit their final campaign finance reports by mid-July. Parker said.