"I'm like a naked hang glider," says Salt Lake mayoral candidate Rich McKeown. Everything, including his tax returns, are out for the public to see.
McKeown used the rather unsightly analogy Wednesday as his race against Mayor Deedee Corradini turned a bit nasty.Corradini also started running a new TV ad that shows an unflattering picture of McKeown and says he doesn't have the experience to fight crime. McKeown says Corradini's crime fighting statistics are "irrelevant" and it's an "insult" to residents for her to use them and claim she's "cured their fears" of crime.
Also this week, the Corradini campaign alleged that McKeown violated the city's campaign disclosure ordinance - and McKeown's campaign later acknowledged its reports were incomplete.
While in a debate at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, Corradini accused McKeown of orchestrating a negative campaign against her, in part by having some of his campaign staffers plant Bonneville Pacific stories with the press and public.
McKeown said: "I directly refute any negative campaigning. I have not dealt with Bonneville Pacific in a negative way but only referred to it in relation to my experience and her experience. She brought Bonneville Pacific into the mayor's office (upon her election)." McKeown says it's Corradini who is bringing up the question of experience - and Bonneville is part of her experience and he'll talk about the scandal in that context.
At the U. debate, Corradini was asked why, if she did nothing illegal, she and her husband agreed to pay nearly $800,000 to Bonneville Pacific creditors.
"This has been a very, very difficult issue for me," said Corradini. "If I'd had it to do over again, I would have done some things differently. But I have never done anything illegal, or done anything to hurt anyone. I would never do that. This was a business failure way before I became mayor."
She said the $800,000 was a number of loans. "I owed that money back" to a subsidiary of Bonneville Pacific. "I could not, as mayor, be involved in a civil case like that and try to be mayor at the same time. And it was worth it to me to go ahead and pay off those loans earlier than I would have paid them off anyway, and pay the legal costs - even though I think I could have won (in court) - were just tremendous. It would have cost me much more than that. I decided to put this behind me so I could be mayor of this city."
On Tuesday, Corradini's campaign pointed out several discrepancies on McKeown's financial disclosure statement. The most significant omission is that McKeown failed to list who paid for or how much the campaign spent on billboards around the city.
Campaign spokeswoman Kim Wirthlin said Leonard Driggs paid for the billboards on behalf of McKeown. Part of that contribution was listed on McKeown's previous disclosure statement, but additional billboard space contributed by Driggs was left off the latest filing.
Wirthlin said the statement will be amended to show Driggs' in-kind contribution of billboard space worth $12,453.
McKeown also failed to list separately an aggregate accounting of contributions of $50 or less. And McKeown's campaign left gaps in its accounting of a handful of expenditures it made, failing to provide business or individual addresses or the purpose of some expenditures.
To date, Corradini has not filed a complaint about the discrepancies with the city recorder's office and unless a complaint is filed, the office will not take any action. A complaint may be moot any way since Wirthlin said the campaign would immediately fill the gaps in on the disclosure statements.
"This financial filing was not as complete as it should have been, we will correct portions that were incomplete and refile it immediately," Wirthlin said. She added this parting shot: "We would contrast this with Deedee's financial record any time," Wirthlin said.