DA Democratic Candidate Ballot Battle Adjourned Until Monday

Common Pleas Judge Allan Tereshko opened a hearing today on a bid by one candidate for district attorney - Dan McCaffery – to knock another candidate – Seth Williams – off the May 19th Democratic primary ballot, on grounds that Williams should have listed his campaign organization as a source of income in the financial disclosure forms that were filed last week. The proceeding adjourned for the weekend without any decision from the judge, but there were a couple of interesting disclosures:

* Williams uses an American Express card for which his mother, Imelda, gets the bills. Williams described this more as a matter of convenience than anything else, and said he reimburses his mother for his use of the card.  The card has Williams' name on it.

* Though Williams has been running for DA for around five years (having run against Lynne Abraham four years ago), he’s still having trouble keeping track of his campaign finances. His lawyer, Abbe Fletman, told the judge this afternoon that the campaign would be filing an amended report for 2008, reflecting the discovery that Williams was reimbursed twice for $561 worth of campaign expenses put onto his mother’s Amex account. It happened, according to Fletman, because he was reimbursed one-at-a-time, as they occurred, for individual expenses that went onto the credit card, and again in November 2008, when there was a lump-sum payment of $561 to cover Seth’s share of the credit-card bill. Fletman said Williams would reimburse the campaign.

Tereshko may prove us wrong next week, but none of this appears likely to knock Williams off the May 19th primary ballot.

As both the Daily News and Inquirer reported last month, Williams’s campaign record-keeping has been sloppy, and he’s followed some bad accounting practices, running much of his campaign out of his own pocket, that resulted in thousands of dollars of campaign checks written to his wife. But Williams contends that all the payments reflect reimbursement of actual campaign-related expenses, he’s produced bank records supporting his contention, and we’ve seen no evidence yet to the contrary.

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