Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

UPDATED: Follow the money, Charlestown campaign 2022

As usual, the CCA counts on money from out of state as well as its old supporters

By Will Collette

UPDATE: I added an excerpt of the financial disclosure for Trumplican candidate Westin Place who is running for state Senate District 38. He admits he is in debt to the IRS for unpaid federal taxes. See below. - W. Collette

In case you were wondering where Uncle Fluffy Tom Gentz ended up, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance campaign finance reports tell us. Our former Town Council Boss sent the CCA $500 from his retirement home in Sunset City, Arizona. 

Another CCA regular, Peter Hernstein is now in Fountain Hills, AZ and he sent in his check for $100. Former CCA leader and co-founder Kate Waterman sent in her $500 from Connecticut. Nothing from Deputy Dan Slattery wherever he may be (maybe he’s on undercover assignment for the CIA).

As I read through the CCA’s report for the quarter going from July 1 to October, aside from the out-of-state money, I was amazed at how much the CCA took in from its candidates, past and present, various ward-heelers as well as prominent players in many of the CCA’s controversial land deals. Very little money came from newcomers.

People who stood to gain from the aborted Y-Gate Scandal are still giving, including Joanne D’Alcomo of Boston ($300) and Russ Ricci ($250). 

So are Sachem Passage Association folks who benefited from the town’s $2.1 million bailout of their botched resistance to the Whalerock wind turbine project (we bought the land where the turbines were to be built). 

Later on, the SPA tried it again, attempting to get Charlestown to take a bug-infested parcel off their hands for many times its assessed value – we dubbed that one “SPA-Gate.”   

In addition to Peter Hernstein, listed above, the CCA received $100 donations from SPA members Donna Chambers (seeking another term on the Chariho School Committee), Town Councilor Susan Cooper (SPA Trustee for the duration of Spa-Gate), and first-time donor John Kaptinski (SPA founding father), presumably holding out hope that Attorney Cooper can somehow engineer one last CCA bailout for the SPA should she be re-elected.         

Conspicuously absent is SPA El Presidente Ron Areglado, who “managed” the campaign against Whalerock and the bait-and-switch SPA-Gate scam, although his moneyman in both scams, Joseph Quadrato, coughed up $150 to reserve a slot in future CCA cash & carry do-overs.

Arnolda is well represented with donors but oddly, Councilor Bonnita Van Slyke donated nothing. She is not running for re-election, as she is trying to sell her Arnolda estate on the pond for $2.4 million to someone who will develop the land into “your own palatial coastal retreat.” 

Not only did Van Slyke stiff the CCA party, but she actually took $535.72 reimbursement for mailing expenses rather than make it an in-kind donation. 

In past years, the CCA attempted to hide the high level of out-of-state donations by reporting their absentee donors not at their actual addresses, but at their Charlestown vacation homes. 

They only did that once in this election cycle (so far), listing $1000 donor Robert Thavenius at 10 Dudley Lane when his mailing address is listed on the Charlestown Tax Assessor database as Avon, Connecticut. His family owns two properties in Charlestown assessed at $5,071,700.

In sum, the CCA began the campaign season with $7,911.24 and raised another $8,750 for a total campaign war chest of $16,701. Of that, they have spent $9,790 so far, most of it to produce and mail those laughable 6-page, trifold, fine-print graphic novels they’ve mailed to everyone – twice.

Though the CCA seems to be incapable of competently managing Charlestown’s money, they seem to have a good handle on their own cash. 

You can look up campaign finance reports for any candidate on the Board of Elections website HERE. If you enter “Charlestown,” you can see the files for anyone who has run for office from Charlestown going back to when the BOE set up the database. You can also enter a person’s name. 

I think campaign finance reports tell you more about a candidate than any other piece of information. For example, Trumplican Westin Place of Westerly is running for Senate 38 against Charlestown’s Victoria Gu (D) and former Republican Caswell Cooke of Westerly. 

Westin Place started out as a joke candidate, but his prospects came alive when the state GOP did some fund-raisers for him. In last quarter’s financial report, Place says he took in $2,100 from people he can’t identify. He also took major donations from big GOP donors statewide. In his last filing before the election, the only named donor is Gunowners PAC who gave him $200. 

One reason I didn't take Place seriously is that he was late in filing his organization report with the BOE and thus missed the cut-off to file a quarterly report. However, he did file his ethics disclosure statement with the Ethics Commission where he made this disclosure:

It's not a very good look for a candidate for state Senate to start campaigning while showing unpaid federal taxes.

A remarkable amount of money gets spent on political campaigns. It’s only loosely regulated and only occasionally do offenses get caught, like Charlestown’s Sen. Elaine Morgan who ripped off her campaign account to pay for personal expenses. Though she admitted the offenses, she threw her recently deceased husband under the bus by blaming him for her misdeeds. 

She got off with a fine, but I hope the voters will take this into account when they decide whether to re-elect her or replace her with her fine challenger, Charlestown’s Jennifer Douglas (D).