Former Atlanta Mayor Facing Debt

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Brown finished a distant fifth with about 5% of the vote in the November 2 general election.

To exploreMore coverage of AJC’s Atlanta City Hall

It is not uncommon for lost campaigns to be in debt after an election.

Council President Felicia Moore, for example, asked for donations to repay a debt totaling $ 10,000 after her loss in the November Mayoral Second Round. After a few days she told the supporters she had achieved this goal and was able to close the campaign.

But Brown’s full financial picture is unknown, as he failed to file the required financial disclosure report covering the final month of his campaign, which was due on October 25.

A spokeswoman for the state’s ethics committee confirmed last week that the campaign still had not filed the report. Campaigns may face fines for late reporting, but the spokesperson said she could not comment on Brown’s situation.

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Atlanta City Councilor Antonio Brown at Atlanta City Hall on Friday, August 20, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Atlanta City Councilor Antonio Brown at Atlanta City Hall on Friday, August 20, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)
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Atlanta City Councilor Antonio Brown at Atlanta City Hall on Friday, August 20, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Brown said in an interview that the debt is minimal, although he did not give an exact figure and is committed to working to pay his former employees as soon as possible. He said they knew at the end of the summer that fundraising would be difficult and finances were tight.

“I always try to move mountains to do it,” Brown said in an interview.

Lance Jones, Brown’s former campaign manager, estimated the debt at $ 5,000 to $ 10,000. He said the latest campaign report was not filed due to health concerns in his family, but that he plans to file it soon.

“We all kind of figured out what the situation was and came to terms with it,” Jones said of the finances of the campaign.

Financial hardship comes as Brown prepares to stand trial on four counts of fraud. Years before being elected to public office, prosecutors say, Brown took out thousands of dollars in loans and opened multiple credit cards for personal purchases, before falsely claiming his identity had been stolen.

Brown has pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly said he is innocent. A trial date has not been set.

Money “allocated to other things”

Buchanan, who is based in New York and Los Angeles, said she had previously worked with Brown on his business ventures and was hired over the summer to handle public relations with a June contract. through November, she said.

Buchanan said she was paid for her first two months, but “things started to slow down towards the end of July.”

An invoice shows Buchanan is expecting more than $ 3,700 in payments, covering work in August and a travel reimbursement.

“We saw TV commercials the last two weeks of the campaign. We know there was money there, it was just allocated to other things besides reimbursing people, ”Buchanan said in an interview.

Another former Brown campaign staff, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, also said he was owed money.

To exploreCouncilor and mayoral candidate Antonio Brown wants to “reimagine Atlanta”

In November, they asked for updates from Brown, who promised them the campaign had not forgotten them.

Rick Thompson, a campaign finance expert in Georgia, said it’s not uncommon for a campaign to have unpaid debt after an election. But everything must be documented in the financial reports, and the campaign cannot be officially over until the debts are paid.

“It’s definitely the candidate’s responsibility to make sure all deposits are made whether you have employment issues or people don’t,” said Thompson, who is also a member of the committee. state ethics.

Fundraising for concerts

A September campaign finance report shows Brown raised about $ 380,000 in donations. The campaign has made significant investments in recent months, according to the report.

For example, the campaign paid $ 56,000 to Dome in the City LLC for “Marketing, Events, Fundraising and Entertainment”.

Payment was made on September 6, the day after the Dome in the city the venue – which is located in the Brown neighborhood and has been the subject of noise complaints from nearby neighbors – hosted a “Pride Mega Bash”Celebration with a concert by popular rapper Latto.

Also on September 6, Brown’s campaign donated $ 75,000 to Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Richard De La Font for “donor network, entertainment and fundraising,” the report said. According to its website, the agency reserves musical artists for public and private events.

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Former mayoral candidate Antonio Brown speaks at an Atlanta mayoral forum on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Former mayoral candidate Antonio Brown speaks at an Atlanta mayoral forum on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)
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Former mayoral candidate Antonio Brown speaks at an Atlanta mayoral forum on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Brown had been promoting the Pride Mega Bash event on social media the previous days, although the concert flyers did not mention Brown or his mayoral bid. Tickets cost between $ 40 and $ 60, and sales have gone to the campaign, Jones said.

It’s unclear how much the event raised, but the September financial report shows around $ 36,000 in contributions under $ 100 that don’t need to be itemized.

Brown said organizing the concert was seen as a creative fundraising effort. Jones said the event was “a success, but it was not as successful as it should have been,” adding that they were hoping to sell 2,000 more tickets than they would have been. ‘had done.

The campaign also contributed more than $ 63,000 to the online payroll service ADP for “salary” and “payroll,” the September financial report says.

Brown made a personal loan of $ 15,000 to his campaign. At the end of September, the campaign had a little over $ 50,000 with one month until polling day.

“It’s hard to pay off your debt,” Brown said. “It’s difficult when you’re no longer an elected official and you haven’t won your race.



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