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Police Investigate Mayoral Campaign Complaint

Police Investigate Mayoral Campaign Complaint



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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Provo police are investigating a complaint that a mailing in this year's mayoral campaign made false statements and violated a city ordinance.

The complaint was filed by Nancy Jane Woodside, former chairwoman of the Utah County Democratic Party and a volunteer for the campaign of Dave Bailey, who lost the Nov. 8 race to incumbent Lewis Billings. Billings received 7,214 votes to 4,730 for Bailey.

Woodside claims the mailing, which went to Provo Republicans just before Election Day, cost Bailey the election and has made it hard for her to find a job.

The mailing quoted Bailey as telling a Democratic Women of Utah County luncheon that he would appoint Woodside as his chief administrative officer if elected mayor.

Bailey and others at the luncheon said he never made such a statement. "He never said anything about that. He never said anything about Nancy Jane at all," said Kena Jo Mathews, chairwoman of the Democratic women's group. "There are probably 20 other women who were there who would say the same thing."

The mailer was paid for by a political action committee called Provo Residents for Good City Government and bore the names of state Sens. Curt Bramble and Parley Hellewell; state Reps. Jeff Alexander, Margaret Dayton, Brad Daw, Lorie Fowlke, Craig Frank, Becky Lockhart and Aaron Tilton; and Utah County Commissioner Steve White.

The primary contributors to the PAC were businessmen Richard Rawle, who provided $4,119, and Scott Felsted, who donated $1,000. Neither returned phone calls from The Daily Herald seeking comment.

Bramble said he was originally approached with the information by Stan Lockhart, the husband of Becky Lockhart.

Stan Lockhart said he started seeking endorsements for it after satisfying himself that the information on Woodside joining a Bailey administration was true.

He said he heard it from many sources in the Billings campaign "who would be in a position to know."

Billings has said that he tried to stop the mailing from going out once he found out about it. He said Wednesday that now that an investigation has started, he will have no further comment until it has concluded.

Woodside said she's having trouble finding work and is considering additional legal action because of the harm done to her life.

The ordinance against making false statements in campaign literature makes violation a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Woodside said anyone involved in endorsing the mailing should face the consequences.

"They have to be accountable for what they did," said Woodside. "If you don't fight back against that kind of a lie, it becomes the truth."

Bramble said Woodside was overreaching in assigning blame.

"If I'm not producing it, if I'm not mailing it, if I'm not paying for it -- what criminal element is there, if I'm provided information and I'm assured that information is accurate?" he said. "It seems pretty difficult to claim criminal conduct."

Once police are finished with the investigation, the city attorney's office will determine what to do next, prosecutor Steve Schreiner said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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