Financial disclosure forms not filed on time, COPP issues order of noncompliance

The Yes for Cascade County Jobs committee, which is advocating for approval of an economic development levy, did not properly file their financial disclosure forms this month.

The first filing was Oct. 3 and the second was Oct. 26. Those filings are required and on Friday, the Commissioner of Political Practices issued an order of noncompliance to the committee.

According to the noncompliance order, information regarding reporting obligations was provided to the committee on Sept. 1 and again in emails prior to the reporting deadlines.

Commissioner Jeff Mangan wrote that the committee failed to file the required campaign finance reports; failed to report expenditure; and failed to update their C2 Statement of Organization form with the new treasurer who was listed on the flyers mailed by Yes for Cascade County Jobs.

Under the order, the committee has five days to submit the required paperwork or COPP or a county attorney may initiate civil litigation.

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Brett Doney, executive director for Great Falls Development Authority, said it was oversight on his part for the lack of filing.

“It was not intentional,” he said.

Doney said that $38,250 has been contributed to far, plus in-kind support from GFDA.

Doney said he was working on the forms over the weekend and intends to file on Monday.

“All I can say is I was responsible for making sure everything happened and it didn’t obviously,” he said on Sunday. “So I’m working today to get it cleaned up.”

The proposed levy would allow up to 3 additional mills annually, in perpetuity, for economic development in Cascade County. The County Commission would determine how many mills to levy annually, up to three. It’s currently anticipated to generate an additional $463,488 if approved. That means an additional $4.05 in taxes on homes valued at $100,000. This levy would apply to all property owners within the city limits and throughout Cascade County.

County Commissioners voted earlier this year to send the question to the November ballot. If approved, the money would be collected and appropriated by Cascade County Commissioners.

To be clear, the committee’s financial disclosure forms are not a requirement for the question to be on the ballot.

Doney said he’ll probably drive to the COPP office in Helena on Monday to ensure he’s got all the paperwork filed and they’re caught back up.

Bob Butcher of U.S. Bank was the original treasurer for the committee and Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing later took over, but Doney said only he was to blame since he took responsibility for the filings.

Choosing a Billings company for to handle the committee’s mailings was also an oversight, Doney said, and that GFDA typically uses Innovative Postal Solutions in Great Falls.

“I apologize to everyone. I feel sick over this,” Doney said. “It’s my fault and I will do everything I can to clean it up and take responsibility.”

The donors, alphabetically and according to Doney, are:

AE2S: $500

Aretz, Anthony: $100

Borggard, Eric and Brenda: $2,000

Briggs, Joe and Kathy: $100

Central Plumbing and Heating: $5,000

Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams, P.C.: $1,000

Dick Anderson Construction: $3,000

Doney, Brett and Kim McIntyre: $100

Doney, Roger: $1,000

Falls Construction: $500

First Interstate Bank: $2,500

Great Falls Development Authority, Inc.: $2,000

Gusto Distributing: $1,000

Guy Tabacco Construction: $2,000

Holman Aviation: $1,000

Hood, Jerry and Deborah: $4,000

Kelly, Sheila: $100

Lacey, Tammy: $800

L’Heureux Page Werner, P.C.: $1,500

Pacific Steel & Recycling: $2,000

Rice, Sheila: $50

Robinson, Owen: $5,000

Stockman Bank: $500

The James Co. Realty: $1,000

Weisenburger, Roger and Renae: $1,000

Westdelco dba Days Inn: $500