Major disparities mark the latest round of campaign finance filings by the three candidates for mayor.
Incumbent Mayor Virg Bernero’s campaign ($87,105) is trouncing competitors At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood ($26,441) and Lansing School Board member Charles Ford ($7,293) in raising money. Political newcomer Ben Hassenger had yet to file a report as of press time.
Bernero’s campaign finance report is, essentially, a who’s who list of area movers, shakers, businessmen and lawyers — suffice it to say, most of his contributions come from people who live in subdivisions. Some of his biggest contributors include unions, political action committees, General Motors Corp. and powerful law and environmental firms that do business with the city. Bernero received $5,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield PAC in April, some $4,600 in individual donations from the firm Miller Canfield — which is representing two city agencies going to the bond market — $1,000 each from the DTE Energy PAC and the GM PAC, and $2,000 from the law firm Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn.
Bernero is the only candidate to receive multiple out-of-state contributions: a state worker in Alabama, a consultant from Kansas City, a vice president at a powerful Manhattan property management firm who lives in Connecticut, engineers from the firm Malcom Pirnie (which does work for the city) who live in Arizona and New York, and the PAC of National City Bank, in Cleveland. Wood, whose treasurer, Lou Adado, filed the campaign’s report late, has received substantial gifts from unions. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union in Washington gave Wood $8,500; the International Union of Painters in Flint gave $2,500; the Teamsters 580 PAC, based in Detroit, gave $3,000.
Doug Johns, owner of the downtown strip club Omar’s and The Exchange gave $1,000. Colleen Beeman, a member of the Genesee Neighborhood Association, gave $1,000, and Gideon Brewer, a manager at the Internet technology firm Brooksource, gave $995.
Although Ford’s campaign has raised over $7,000, it has spent some $18,000, leaving it over $10,000 in debt. More than Bernero and Wood, Ford’s contributions come from Lansing, with a few stray contributors in Grand Rapids and Detroit. Ford’s largest contribution came from Dave Sheets, his client and owner of the Cadillac Club and Discount Dave’s Buy-Rite, whose Washington Avenue location was destroyed by fire, for $899.20. Helena Dubose, the former owner of 96.5 WQHH, gave $500 and Lansing School Board President Hugh Clarke gave $125.
For a map listing every donor to Bernero's campaign, click here
For a map listing every donor to Ford's campaign, click here.
For a map listing every donor to Wood's campaign, click here.
— Neal McNamara
Correction: An earlier version of this story should not have said that Doug Johns owns Basement 414. Johns owns the building, but has no affiliation with the running or programming of the arts space. We apologize for the error.