Lea in conspiracy funding group's
|At-large city council candidate Page Lea has
provided funding to the Conservation Voters of Virginia Beach PAC for TV
attack ads against his opponent Andrea Kilmer.
Turns out Lea was the funding source behind the group's TV ads that launch a personal attack on Kilmer.
A complaint charging the Conservation Voters of Virginia Beach with campaign fraud has been filed with Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Atty. Harvey Bryant III. Bryant could not be reached Friday night for comment.
The complaint involves the PAC's formation for the express purpose of supporting candidates Lea, Peter W. Schmidt, Louis R. Jones, Richard A. Maddox, and Barbara Henley.
They did not notify the Board of Elections, as required in the filing, that they would oppose any candidates.
Yet, they have diverted most of their funds to attack Kilmer personally, allowing Lea, until now, to appear unrelated to the ads.
A spokesperson for Kilmer's campaign said filing documents stating one thing and doing another constitutes campaign fraud. The complaint was filed by lawyer Ken Geroe on the campaign's behalf.
When first contacted by VNS Friday night, Lea vented against VNS for its coverage of a complaint of sexual harassment/assault against Councilman William W. (Billy) Harrison Jr. made by a woman who was employed by Harrison in 1990.
Harrison is an advisor, supporter and friend of Lea's. The woman claimed Harrison tried to force her to have sex with him, ripped her bathing suit top and bruised her neck when she refused.
Harrison paid the woman $28,000 to settle the claim. (See: Harrison Part I and Part II).
Lea said that because Harrison is leaving office the end of June, VNS should never have run the story. It was too old. It was pointed out to Lea that molestations by Catholic priests dated back 35 years or longer and are just being reported and some of them had already resigned.
When initially asked if he was involved with the Conservation Voters of Virginia Beach, he declined to answer saying he wasn't really interested in the question. "I'm not going to answer."
When asked if he contributed to the PAC, he said, "I did not donate money."
When asked if his campaign did, he said, "We did not donate money."
After he was read a letter from his advertising agency, DIA, Inc., asking WVEC-TV to transfer funds from the Lea account to the PAC's, Lea said, "We did donate air time."
The letter states, "An order for Conservation Voters of Virginia Beach was placed on 5/1 and 5/2 totaling $11,680. The transfer of funds from Page Lea will cover $6,635. The remainder of the balance will be available for pickup at DIA on Friday morning after 10 a.m."
|Lea said he got involved because the
Conservation Voters, headed by Charles S. Vinson, had already endorsed
him when they approached him with their concerns that the public wasn't
fully aware of Kilmer's ties with Eddie S. Garcia, a Virginia Beach
"They said the public did not know she was CEO for Garcia."
(Kilmer's public resume fully discloses her job and employer information).
I said, "What about it? They said based on Mr. Garcia's record, we believe she (Kilmer) poses a threat to our environment.
"They made a convincing case. They asked me to help them expose this and I agreed. I agreed with their case and donated air time to expose that fact," Lea said.
He said he didn't expect any of his explanation to be printed by VNS.
The PAC's funding report
On their financial filing dated April 28, the PAC listed it had received $2,920 from six (6) contributors; received in kind contributions of $1,430; had un-itemized cash contributions of less than $100 totaling $749 from 18 donors; and un-itemized in kind contributions from 1 person totaling $100.
As of that date, it had a balance of only $316.69. They spent about $3,000 for two newspaper ads.
The attack ad
The ad shows Kilmer addressing the Sandbridge Civic League with her hand raised in the air to make a point.
The ad asks if the candidate serving as financial officer for the company that tried to drain Stumpy Lake, 'Raise you hand,' and cuts to the photo of Kilmer.
It then claims that Kilmer supported cutting a road through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge for the benefit of her employer, Garcia.
WAVY-TV concerned about the contents of the ad made the group sign a Broadcast Indemnification Agreement protecting the station against libel, slander, and other damages.
Tracking polls show that Lea and Kilmer are running neck and neck with Ron Villanueva in 3rd place.
Numerous false charges have been made about Kilmer regarding development south of the city's imaginary anti-development Green Line.
Garcia recently stated that he owns no property in the area of growth in the area that concerns the conservation group south of the Green Line.