Complaint charges Trevor Fuller with campaign finance irregularities

A complaint has been filed with state elections officials against Mecklenburg County commissioners Chair Trevor Fuller, accusing him of filing incomplete, misleading, and sometimes late and inaccurate reporting of his campaign finances that go back to 2012.

Kathy Davis of Charlotte, treasurer for unsuccessful Republican at-large commission candidate Emily Zuyus, requested a complete audit of Fuller’s campaign finance reports.

She made her request to Sheryll Harris, a compliance officer with the state elections board.

Fuller, a Democrat, came in third in the voting among five at-large candidates for three seats and wants to remain as the board’s chairman another year. Zuyus, a Republican, finished fourth.

Davis’ charges include:

• Not recording thousands of dollars in contributions, in-kind contributions and loans to his campaign, only to record many later in amended reports. For instance, in a 2012 report, Fuller failed to include a $3,045.07 in in-kind contributions, Davis said. If he had, she contends, his campaign would have had a negative cash balance.

This year, commissioner George Dunlap’s financial records show he made a donation to Fuller’s campaign. But it’s not recorded in Fuller’s records.

• Not reporting a $2,500 contribution from N.C. Realtors PAC in Fuller’s third-quarter report this year. Yet it was recorded in the campaign’s first-quarter report, Davis said.

• Filing some reports late. Davis contends that Fuller should have incurred $4,750 in late fees for late filings, but his financial reports shows that he’s paid $300 to date.

• Fuller signing off on reports as the campaign’s treasurer. Davis said there’s no “Certification of Treasurer” record on file naming Fuller as the campaign’s treasurer “or indicating he has completed the required training.”

“Someone who wants to be the face of the very Board of County Commissioners that approved a budget in excess of $1.6 billion should be able to ensure that his own finances ... are accurately and properly completed,” Davis wrote in an email to reporters. “Commissioner Fuller does not appear to have been a very good steward of his own campaign finance reporting.”

Harris confirmed Friday that she received Davis’ complaint late Wednesday and that “the complaint is in process.” Mecklenburg elections director Michael Dickerson said Friday he received an email from Harris requesting his office’s auditing of Fullers finance reports.

Dickerson said his office audits all financial reports of candidates within 30 days after they are received.

Fuller said Friday he’s not worried about an examination of his records. “There do appear to be some mathematical errors in the reporting of some records, but none of that has anything to do with having accurate records of what was received by the campaign and accurate records of what was spent,” Fuller said. “I am confident that all of that is quite well above board.”

He said his campaign has had three treasurers volunteering for two elections. “They don’t understand how much work is involved when they volunteer for the job,” he said.

Fuller questioned the timing of Davis’ complaints and the motivation behind them. He has made it known that he wants another year as the board’s chairman. Commissioner Pat Cotham, who chaired the board in 2013 and was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 4 election, also wants the gavel back.

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