2024 Campaign Finance — Ward 2

207

BLAKE ASHBY

Blake Ashby gathered 15 signatures, including his own, on his own affidavit for his Candidate Nominating Petition while recalled former Ferguson Council Member Toni Burrow provided the other 45 signatures he needed to file as a candidate.

Ashby failed to file his Statement of Committee Organization as legally required, only filing it late on 1/3/24.According to Missouri state law and the clear guidance of the Missouri Ethics Commission, Ashby was required to file by 11/20/23, when he made a $5000 loan to himself. His committee was organized only 45 days after it was legally required. Additionally, he spent $3594.40 before legally organized, for a total of $8594.40 in activity before filing as required. Further, the campaign mailer which he sent out before the New Year for $2000 was marked as being sent from a committee that did not yet exist and which lacked the name of a treasurer, as required by state law. Once he finally filed his committee, he named the same treasurer, Rob Chabot, who recalled Council Member Toni Burrow had recently used.

Ashby filed a Personal Financial Disclosure on 1/3/24 that declined to provide additional details of employment, any businesses owned, investments, or corporate activity. But then, oddly, Ashby filed an amendment on 1/8/24, which stated that he holds the sole proprietorship of Ashby Technical Writing LLC. This is odd, because it discloses only one of Ashby’s currently registered LLCs, nor does the disclosure include employment, ownership, or positions on corporate boards or as an officer. Ashby actually has at least four for-profit LLCs and a newly established 5th LLC which are registered variously under “Blake Ashby,” “Stephan Blake Ashby,” and “S. Blake Ashby.” He is also found listed online as a manager with his LLC Convergent Animal Health, as a board member of Convergent, as a manager with his Sustainable Agricultural and Wildlife, LLC , and as “Finance and Corporate” at both CBD Process Systems and for Canna Peerless, yet only one of his LLCs was disclosed in the amended filing.

No campaign report was made until the 40 days before election report was filed on 2/22/24. Given that contributions and spending were active above the legal requirement for activity by 11/20/23, Ashby also failed to file a required January Quarterly report as would have been done had he filed his Committee Organization legally. He has also filed an 8 days before election report. Together, the reports state they cover from 11/20/23 to 3/21/24.

Ashby has made two loans from himself to his campaign for a total of $10,000. The first loan was made on 11/20/23 and the second on 1/1/24.Both loans conflictingly state that they are for a term of one year and that they will be repaid at the end of the campaign. Ashby also received and deposited a $500 contribution from FP1 S. Florissant LLC at 517 S. Florissant (Greenlight Dispensary) which was given on 1/11/24. This corporate contribution is illegal under state law. This was later returned over a month later on 2/28/24, but the donation was remitted in the next report as a $500 contribution from Tom Bommarito of Ladue, who was cited as an executive with Bommarito Auto Group, but is also the owner of the St Louis Greenlight dispensaries.

Monetary contributions through 3/21/24 have totaled xxx, this includes $440 from eight Ferguson residents, $25 from a Dellwood resident, $500 as previously mentioned from Tom Bommarito and the original $500 illegally accepted from FP1 S. Florissant, which was returned as a campaign expenditure. The final $2000 comes from contributions from James Mueller and John Mueller, Executives with GL Partners, Inc. John Mueller is CEO of Greenlight Dispensaries, and James Mueller, who is part of Convergent Animal Health, an LLC registered to S. Blake Ashby, who is listed by Convergent as a “Manager.” Also of potential interest in this web of business filings and interests is the fact that during last year’s mayoral election a late $2000 contribution was funneled from the Greenlight affiliated FP1 S. Florissant LLC through Civil PAC under circumstances that are still under the review of the Missouri Ethics Commission. It should be questioned if Ashby has a direct ownership interest in Greenlight that he has declined to share, especially with his recent filing two weeks ago establishing Ashby GLP Holdings LLC, a name which echoes the Mueller’s GL Projects LLC. In addition to the monetary contributions, Ashby received two in-kind contributions, one valued at $150 from Mimi Fowler, and another for $66.73 from an Illinois resident.

Moving on to expenditures, Ashby has blown away all other candidates in his level of spending. As of 3/21/24 Ashby has spent $10,491.59 on his campaign. This has included $7117.58 worth of multiple mailings, $1503 for a billboard, $544.84 in yard signs, $500 for the return of the illegally accepted corporate campaign contribution, $290 for advertising, $207.71 for event supplies, $150 for hall rental, $91.40 for bank checks, $59.06 for prints, $18 in bank fees, and $10 for graphics.

He reports having $2968.41 of money on hand left as of 3/21/24, but also has $10,000 in loan debt.

ERICA M. BROOKS

Erica M. Brooks gathered 70 signatures for her Candidate Nominating Petition in December, all under her own affidavit. Brooks filed her Committee Organization on 1/12/24, with herself as treasurer and was filed timely as she had not yet met the spending or contribution threshold requirements to file. Brooks filed her Personal Financial Disclosure by paper on 12/26/23 and again electronically on 1/11/24 and either declined to provide additional details of employment, any businesses owned, investments, or corporate activity, or the questions did not apply to her.

Brooks’ 40 Days before Election report begins 12/27/23 with no money on hand. Her 8 Days before Election report ends on 3/21/24.

Contributions have totaled $1090, which includes $160 from herself, $100 from one Ferguson donor, $330 from two Metro St. Louis residents, and one $500 donation from out of state.

Brooks’ expenditures have totaled $992.32, which has included $623.31 for signs, literature, and car magnets, as well as $114 for phone service. Smaller amounts have been spent on copies, transportation, graphic design, bank fees, photos, and food.

She reports having $96.01 money on hand as of 3/21/24 but may have an additional $1.67 which was reported in the 40 days before report but appears to have been missed in the last report. Brooks has no debts.

JAMIL FRANKLIN

Jamil Franklin started his Candidate Nominating Petition in November and gathered all 75 of its signatures under his affidavit. Franklin’s Organization of Committee was filed 1/8/24 naming Jamil Franklin as Treasurer and Shannon Franklin as co-Treasurer. An amended statement was filed 1/19/24 to amend the bank account. Both were filed timely as he had not yet met the spending or contribution threshold requirements to file. Franklin filed his Personal Financial Disclosure on 12/5/23, but declined to provide additional details of employment, any businesses owned, investments, or corporate activity.

Franklin has filed campaign reports for the 40 Days Before Election and his 8 Days Before Election take his reporting period from 12/19/23 and ends on 3/21/23.

Franklin began with no money on hand and has raised $2971.69 in monetary contributions. These donations have included $114.63 from himself, $175 from three Ferguson residents, $2250 from Metro St. Louis residents, $50 from a Missouri resident outside the local area, and $407.06 from out of state. The out of state contributions include $100 from Marletha Jones, Mayor Ella Jones’ daughter.

Franklin’s expenditures have totaled $2687.57 so far. All but $172.27 of this spending has been by credit card. Expenditures include $1120.16 on yard signs, $1203.10 on campaign literature, $192.04 on T-shirts, with smaller amounts on voter data, postage, filing fees and ActBlue fees.

As of 3/21/24 Franklin had $2799.42 of money on hand and $2515.30 of indebtedness.

NICK KASOFF

Nick Kasoff started his Candidate Nominating Petition in November and gathered all 64 of its signatures under his affidavit. His Organization of Committee was amended on 2/23/24 from his original filing of 6/2/23. Kasoff transferred money from his terminated committee in the previous cycle to his current committee, which in a quirk of campaign law required the name to remain “Kasoff for Mayor” although he is properly filed for the Ward 2 Council campaign. (You can find a summary of who contributed to Kasoff’s 2023 campaign at this link.) Kasoff filed his Personal Financial Disclosure on 12/6/23 and provided additional transparency stating that he is employed by Intuit, and that he and his wife have the sole proprietorships Sweet Sophia Bowtique and Kasoff Enterprises.

Kasoff previously filed a limited activity report, and has filed a January Quarterly report, a 40 Days Before Election report, and an 8 Days Before Election report, so that his reporting period is from 7/1/23 to 3/21/24.

Kasoff started with $4748.16. Kasoff openly stated that he was not asking for contributions as he did not need additional money, but he did accept $100 from a Ferguson resident and $40 from anonymous donors with contributions of $25 or less.

Expenditures have totaled $2068.87 and include $1270.80 for advertising, $340 for postage, $288.07 for sign materials, $120 for food, and $50 for a Sam’s Club Annual Fee.

As of 3/21/24, Kasoff had $2819.29 money on hand and no debts.

Return to 2024 Campaign Ethics and Finance Summary.