Challengers in Laurel City Council race resubmit forms in question

All three challengers in the Laurel City Council race required to resubmit campaign forms have done so before the extended deadline of 5 p.m. Thursday, according to clerk of the City Council Kimberly Rau.

Ward 1 challenger John Smith, Ward 2 challenger Thomas Matthews and at-large challenger Adrian Rousseau were forced to resubmit financial disclosure forms after the city's Ethics Commission found ommissions on their original forms at a meeting last week.

The five incumbents in the race -- Edward Ricks (Ward 1), Valerie Nicholas (Ward 1), Donna Crary (Ward 2), Fred Smalls (Ward 2) and Michael Leszcz (at-large) -- were not required to resubmit their financial disclosure forms.  

The Ethics Commission's findings led to an emergency meeting of the Board of Election Supervisors on Monday, Sept. 23, where the board voted to extend the deadline for the three challengers to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26. 

According to board chair John Kish, the forms lacked basic information like address, place of employment, income and debts.

Kish said the extension was granted to be fair, and the relative inexperience of the challengers factored into the decision.

"We just want the election to run fair and smooth," Kish said after Monday's meeting. "We don't want any problems later on saying this was rigged. I just want to be fair about the whole thing."

The updated financial disclosure forms will be reevaluated by the Ethics Commission at a special meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The new forms need to be evaluated by the commission before the finalization of the ballot, which is scheduled to occur at an Oct. 7 meeting of the Board of Election Supervisors. 

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