Conner withdraws from Concordia Parish elections after petitionPublished 12:46am Monday, August 27, 2012
Ferriday — Justin Conner has filed a notice to withdraw from the upcoming local November election following allegations from the state of unpaid campaign finance fees.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics submitted petitions Friday objecting the candidacies of Elijah “Stepper” Banks and Justin Conner.
Banks, an incumbent, recently qualified for Ferriday alderman district B and Conner for justice of the peace District 1.
Both objections state that the candidates falsely certified their notice of candidacy by signing their qualification form stating they did not owe any outstanding fines, fees or penalties pursuant to the campaign finance disclosure act.
Both candidates were scheduled to appear in front of Seventh Judicial Court Judge Leo Boothe at 10 a.m. today.
Conner filed his notice of withdrawal Sunday to authorize and request the omission of his name from the official ballot on the November election and said he didn’t feel the board had given him adequate time to prepare his case.
“I was served on Friday around 4 p.m., and they did not give me an opportunity to get any legal assistance,” Conner said. “If I would have gotten served the notice earlier, I would have gotten legal assistance and had time to do research on the matter.”
The petition against Conner states that Conner owes $2,116.87 in fines, court costs and interest dating back to an October 2007 election in which Conner ran against Clyde Ray Webber for clerk of court.
Conner received 1,701 votes, or 24 percent, and lost the 2007 election to Webber, who received 5,352 votes, or 76 percent.
In that 2007 election, Conner failed to file three different campaign finance disclosure reports throughout the duration of the election and was ordered to pay a $1,560 late fee, the petition states.
Conner said he is planning on paying all the late fees before qualifying for another election, but also said the court hearing wasn’t worth it for that elected position.
“This job doesn’t pay but $150 a month, and that’s not worth dragging myself, my family and my constituents through this court hearing,” Conner said. “I think there’s more reasons under the surface of this, but with Concordia Parish politics you never know.”
The petition against Banks states that Banks owes $462.85 in fines, court costs and interest dating back to an October 2000 election in which Banks ran against Conner for justice of the peace district 1.
In that 2000 election, Banks failed to file an Election Day expenditure for the primary election campaign finance disclosure report by the deadline and was ordered to pay a $360 late fee, the petition states.
On April 10, 2002, the board received a payment of $80 from Banks, but a $280 balance remained unpaid.
Banks said Friday that a check with the remaining balance of his fines was put in the mail Thursday and sent to the board and that he was not aware the fine had to be paid before he signed the qualifying form.