Francisco Reina served a summons Wednesday

City attorney does not expect to seek jail time

A Craig Police Department officer delivered Francisco Reina's municipal court summons Wednesday morning, less than 12 hours after city officials decided to prosecute the former candidate for spending too much of his own money in the city election last month.

Reina, who ran for one of four Craig City Council seats, submitted a spending report to City Clerk Shirley Seely that declared he spent $1,512.78 of his personal money on his campaign, more than three times the $500 limit stated in the charter.

Reina came in last in the council race and did not win a seat.

He is charged with a Class A municipal violation, which carries a possible sentence of a fine between $75 to $1,000 and/or as many as 180 days in jail.

However, City Attorney Kenny Wohl has said he does not expect to seek jail time, which Police Officer Frank Schmedeke also told Reina when he delivered the summons.

Reina said he would be all right with paying a small fine and moving on with his life rather than battle the issue in court.

"It's not worth it to move forward and back," Reina said.

He is scheduled to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. June 17.

When he addressed the situation at the council meeting Tuesday, Reina said he was sorry about what happened.

Some of the advertisements he bought with the Craig Daily Press did not contain any mention of his campaign, but rather told what he called his "life story," and he did not intend them to be political ads.

City officials and Daily Press representatives told him they had to be considered political in nature because of his ongoing candidacy, at which point Reina said he stopped spending money on his campaign.

"Everybody makes mistakes; what can I say?" Reina told the council Tuesday.

Then, his voice started to crack, and he added, "My only purpose in this was to better serve our children and our families."

Reina may not be the only person who violated terms of the city charter.

Councilor Terry Carwile, who was re-elected to his second term this year, did not turn in an itemized account of his campaign expenses within 30 days of the election, as the city charter requires.

Seely said Carwile submitted his expense receipts last week, after a story ran in the Daily Press about Reina's potential court case.

Seely added that she felt Carwile's failure to submit the details of his expenses was partially her fault.

"I didn't remind him of that, so I guess it was probably my fault, too," she said.

Carwile denied any wrongdoing. He said he completed the campaign expenditure form approved by the Colorado Secretary of State, adding, "that should be sufficient."

Carwile's original spending report does not contain an itemized expense list, but indicates he spent a total of $363.34.

Wohl said he did not think Carwile should be charged with violating the city charter because the councilor amended his spending report by submitting his receipts.

Wohl added that amended spending reports are common at the state and federal levels and normally are not prosecuted.

Carwile's situation was not discussed at the council meeting Tuesday night, when the members voted, 6-0, to recommend the city attorney prosecute Reina for his violation of the same ordinance in the city charter.

Carwile said at that meeting he was afraid the general public would lose trust in their public officials if they did not follow the city charter's ordinances, which voters approved in 2006.

He voted in favor of prosecution, along with the other council members, despite Wohl's recommendation that the city let Reina's case go.

The city attorney said prosecuting the former candidate could become a lengthy court battle concerning whether the city's spending limit violates Reina's right to free speech.

After a discussion about the issues, during which several council members made it known they thought it was wrong to not prosecute Reina, Wohl said he thought he understood and had a clear idea of what he would do.

However, Craig resident Dave DeRose, who was in the audience, said he did not think the attorney had sufficient direction.

From his seat, DeRose said, "This is a charter. You're sworn to protect it. (Wohl) needs to prosecute the case."

After his words, the council agreed to make a formal motion stating their position, a step Wohl encouraged.

Comments

lonelyone 4 years, 10 months ago

you guys make some good points. as I said before, it'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

0

pathfinder2006 4 years, 10 months ago

So let me get this straight...He spent to much money so the idiots that run Craig is going to charge him MORE money...the people that "run" Craig are really bright..haha...anyway that is my two cents

0

cactus 4 years, 10 months ago

If Reina was in violation, then Carwile was too. It wasn't up to Seely to "remind" Carwile any more than it was her responsibility to remind "Reina" of overspending. Also, just because Carwile makes the statement of the paperwork that he filed "that should be sufficient" doesn't make it so. Sounds like the "Good Ol Boy" ethics again.

0

lonelyone 4 years, 10 months ago

I kind of agree with you Cactus. Terry filed papers approved by the Colorado Sec. of State, but that is not what Craig's rules say he has to do. So if he's not punished, then Reina shouldn't be either, because the Supreme Court says that money spent on a campaign is part of our right to free speech. And until the Supreme Court changes that ruling then Mr. Reina should have been within his rights to spend what he wanted to. So if City Charter over rules the Supreme Court, then shouldn't it over rule any form from the Sec. of State??? If Mrs. Seely informed Terry that he needed to do something different, did she also inform Mr. Reina that he couldn't spend more then 500 dollars on his campaign? I think Terry should be fined 5 dollars for not turning in the paper work like he should have and Mr. Reina, 10 dollars for over spending, But that's just my thoughts. I'm sure this all sounds nit-picky, but that's just what it sounds like to me that the city council is doing. But I do understand that there are rules to be followed too. And now no matter what is done, people are going to complain about how it turns out.

0

ratholer 4 years, 10 months ago

I think that a man who spent to much of his own money and still lost should be punishment enough. If he would of won then I would understand the complaint.

0

als362 4 years, 10 months ago

I think that anyone who is running or attempting to run for any public office should know the law and obey it. If one cannot obey the law running for office, how can that person be expected to obey the law after elected? While I think the punishment should be quite small, the city council did exactly the right thing. If they let one person get away with breaking the law, then they are forced or compelled to do the same for everybody. That cannot be allowed to occur.

0

comeagain 4 years, 10 months ago

I believe the greatest irony in this matter is that Mr. Reina ran for a post that is enforced and administered by many rules and regulations. City councils review, uphold and even create new laws. When Mr. Reina decided to run for City Council, it seems that he failed to read the rules of the game, before jumping in and playing in this political game. To me, for someone that is to lead and represent the city, uphold and create laws and doesn't inform oneself of the rules to reach this position, then that person should not hold a governing position whether it's small town or nation-wide. In my opinion, the scorn and exposure of this fault would seem punishment enough to most, based on the appearance that his fault was based on ignorance rather than malice. To bring this up now seems somewhat petty and bloodthirsty.
Carwile's opinion on "that should be sufficient" seems to be simple disregard of City Charter.

0

als362 4 years, 10 months ago

The city council MUST enforce the laws the same for everyone. Not allow some to slide by and others be prosecuted. That is the only fair way to deal with this.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.