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Almost half of Elam's funds tied to single source
Jul 25, 2006 12:00 am
Nearly half of county mayoral candidate Linda Elam's campaign contributions can be tied to a Nashville development company which built a large office project in Mt. Juliet, where Elam serves as mayor and previously as planning commission chair.
Construction Realty Services, a development company out of Nashville, was heavily involved in Mt. Juliet Crossings – a large development on South Mt. Juliet Road across from Providence MarketPlace. CRS and its employees and companies listed at the same or adjacent addresses gave her campaign $10,000. Political action committees connected to CRS Nashville gave $14,470 – totaling its contribution to Elam at $24,970.
The Mt. Juliet mayor has received a total of $51,334, making contributions traceable to CRS about 49 percent of her entire campaign war chest.
The Lebanon Democrat reported last week $16,980 was connected to CRS. Since then, further investigation revealed $7,990 more – for a total of $24,970 – is linked to the development company. Of the newly discoved $7,990, about $4,990 is from the PAC funded by CRS employee Angela Severs, $1,000 each is from CRS employees Kenneth and Fred Powers, and $1,000 is from KJ Investments, which has the same address as several other companies linked to CRS.
Six companies listed at the same or adjacent addresses to CRS contributed a total of $6,000, including numerous limited liabilities companies at either 2603 or 2605 Elm Hill Pike in Nashville.
Two political action committees, which donated $4,990 each to Elam's campaign, had only one contributor. In both these cases, the contributor was an employee of CRS – Jeff Browning and Severs.
Severs had an out-of-county address listed, at 1229 Elliston Street in Old Hickory. However, the Davidson County register of deeds office could not find records of that address.
When contacted at CRS on Tuesday, Severs acknowledged making the contribution and said the address written is "obviously incorrect." She declined to answer further questions over the phone and did not return an e-mail with further questions.
Browning, who is listed as a "specific contact" on CRS's Web site (www.crsnashville.com), also gave $5,000 to a PAC which donated $4,990 to Elam.
A PAC called Mid South PAC also gave $4,990 to Elam. Its sole contributor is Mid South Land Associates, LLC. Both the PAC and the company share an address adjacent to CRS, and the limited liabillity company also contributed $1,000.
Browning made an individual contribution of $1,000, as did two other employees, Kenneth and Fred Powers – both of whom are also listed as contacts on CRS' Web site.
Elam did not return repeated calls for comment Wednesday. Neither did her campaign manager or treasurer.
However, Elam's opponent, incumbent county mayor Robert Dedman, called the development "strange," yet "well-designed."
"If you ask for donations, how often do they give you the same exact amount of money, every one of them?" Dedman said. "… I think they were probably called and persuaded to make a donation, and (the Elam campaign) told them how much they wanted."
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.