PLYMOUTH - Two town residents have filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission about an anonymous political mailer sent out recently attacking Mayor David Merchant’s actions in office.
The complaint was filed Oct. 20 by Joyce Krinitsky, a registered Democrat, and Gregory Showers, a registered Republican, against Pattie DeHuff and her campaign.
DeHuff is running for mayor against Merchant as a petitioning candidate from a local organization calling itself Citizens For Responsible Government. She denies having anything to do with the mailer.
The complaint alleges that the anonymous mailer, which did not contain a disclaimer required by state law, was sent by DeHuff and/or her supporters.
“This anonymous mailer is the second one sent to Plymouth residents in the last year. While no complaint was filed regarding the previous unlawful mailer, Ms. Krinitsky and Mr. Showers felt that these illegal actions could no longer be tolerated,” reads a statement from Krinitsky and Showers.
“Regarding the current complaint, it is fairly obvious that Pattie DeHuff and/or her campaign was involved in the preparation of this mailer as the allegations made mirror those that she has made during her campaign. She has also failed to make any public comment disavowing the mailer in question or repudiating the unlawful manner in which it was sent. Allowing these types of tactics undermines the free election process and allowing a campaign to benefit from these actions creates an uneven playing field which is precisely the reason state laws exist to outlaw these practices,” the statement continued.
“We hope the State Elections Enforcement Commission pursues this complaint so that these illegal mailers will not become the norm in the future,” Krinitsky and Showers concluded.
In response to the complaint, DeHuff said, “As I and others on the CFRG slate have said many times since the mailer came out: We did not produce the anonymous mailer.”
She suggested that people “look at the financials for CFRG, the Republicans and the Democrats. I think you will see how each group spent their money. Is anyone interested in investigating whether or not the claims made in the mailer are even true?”
The four-page color mailer, which Krinitsky and Showers said was sent to every household in Plymouth, accused Merchant of violating state statute in the purchase and then resale of residential property as part of the $3.75 million Plymouth Firehouse expansion project.
Joseph Kilduff, chairman of the Republican Town Committee, and Paul Gianesini, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, issued a joint statement condemning the mailer.
“The two political town committees would like to state that we are against anonymous mailings during anytime of the year, election season or not. Any literature that lacks a proper source has no business being released. This type of tactic misleads our fellow citizens and hinders responsible government. We hope the use of these uncredited mailers will cease as we all try to keep Plymouth informed and moving forward in the future,” the statement read.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.