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Saratoga Dems file ethics complaint against Republican mayoral candidate

 Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee Chairperson Pat Tuz filed an ethics complaint last week against Republican-endorsed mayoral candidate Heidi Owen West and her allies in the GOP. The complaint letter and the attached exhibits can be found here.

“It is sad to see Ms. West and her colleagues in the Republican Party following the same old Trump Republican playbook of negative campaigning, big lies, and false attacks against Ron Kim,” Tuz said. “Saratogians deserve a Mayor who will tell the truth, not spread big lies for political gain.” 

West’s most recent mailer contained multiple lies about Kim, including the claim that his primary residence is in Queensbury. Mr. Kim and his wife have lived in Saratoga Springs since 1991, raising their children here and sending them to our public schools. “This is just part of the standard Republican practice of identifying those who refute GOP lies as ‘outsiders’ or ‘others,’” Tuz added. 

West and her Republican allies also spread a spurious claim that Mr. Kim was forced by a court to pay unpaid rent. This point is also false. A former landlord attempted to retroactively raise Mr. Kim’s rent after he had already vacated the premises, attempting to force Mr. Kim to pay far more than he had ever originally owed. Mr. Kim was not forced by a court to pay anything, as the landlord’s complaint was withdrawn in 2018 and the dispute was settled out of court with Mr. Kim paying an amount far less than what his landlord had frivolously demanded. 

West’s mailers also fail to “clearly and prominently” display the “paid for by” disclaimer required by state law on all campaign materials in “an appropriate legible form.” The acceptable standard for legibility of required disclosures is for there to be a clear contrast between the color of the font used for the disclosure and the background the disclosure is placed on. West’s mailers hide the disclosure for strategic purposes, as West is attempting to disassociate herself from the Republican Party and does not wish for voters to easily notice the mailings are coming from the Republican Party. Some of these mailings include first person quotes from West and high-resolution images not available to the public, demonstrating the West campaign fully coordinated with the New York State Republican Committee on the content of the mailings. 

“Ms. West is so keen to hide the state Republican Party’s role in helping her campaign spread lies about her opponent that she has failed to even follow legal requirements to disclose their involvement,” Tuz said. “By using Republican Party resources to spread big lies and then trying to hide it after the fact, Ms. West shows that she is not the ‘independent’ she claims to be.” 

“These false and malicious attacks undermine Ms. West’s self-described image as a ‘calming force,’” Tuz added. “A candidate who attacks her opponents with false, ugly narratives can hardly be expected to bring our city together.”