Berman refuses to retract campaign fliers - East Valley Tribune: News

Berman refuses to retract campaign fliers

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Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 8:19 pm | Updated: 10:02 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman's political campaign will not retract a flier that claims Mesa-based Valley Business Owners and Concerned Citizens is connected with a recall effort against the mayor.

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Former Arizona Attorney General Jack LaSota, who now represents VBO, a group that has successfully fought several local efforts, including a proposed stadium for the Arizona Cardinals and a proposed city property tax, demanded in a letter dated June 4 that Berman retrieve and destroy all campaign fliers that suggest a tie between VBO and the recall.

The fliers, which were sent out last month, claim the VBO group is connected to the recall through Gilbert resident Fred Phillis, who heads the effort to oust the mayor. Phillis is also a vocal member of VBO.

But according to paperwork filed with the Gilbert town clerk, another political committee, End Corruption in Gilbert, is behind the recall effort, not VBO.

States the flier: "The chairman of the (recall) group is a man named Fred Phillis. Mr. Phillis, and his front group, the so-called Valley Business Owners, has been active over the last several years in pushing referendums in Mesa to undermine and oppose new economic development efforts. ..."

VBO President David Molina denied any connection between his group and the recall committee.

The letter also suggests VBO may pursue legal action against Berman.

Chris Baker, a political consultant speaking on Berman's behalf, called the letter "another in a long line of attempts by VBO and frontman Fred Phillis to try to gain press attention."

"We're not worried about it in the slightest bit," Baker said. "There's nothing to it."

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