Chandler candidates get funds from developers - East Valley Tribune: News

Chandler candidates get funds from developers

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Posted: Saturday, August 23, 2008 10:52 pm | Updated: 10:31 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Developers and land-use lawyers have contributed the most money to Chandler City Council candidates in the last two months, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday.

Five executives with Red Development, a Scottsdale-based company, have given the most, pouring more than $5,700 into the coffers of four of the six candidates.

Executives Scott Rehorn, Mike Ebert, Barry Shannahan, Steven Maun, and Steve Backman nearly doubled the amount of the next most generous group of contributors, five executives with apartment developer Mark Taylor who gave $3,140.

Each Red Development executive gave the campaign contribution limit of $390 to the campaigns of Kevin Hartke and Rick Heumann.

The executives also gave $200 each to the campaigns of Jack Sellers and Tracy Buelna, except Ebert didn't contribute to Buelna.

Dorsha Hale and incumbent Matt Orlando also are in the race, but Red Development doesn't show up in their reports.

Hartke said he appreciates the contributions, but it won't sway his decision making.

"I go into every meeting wanting to hear what people are saying, hear what citizens are saying and look at the projects as they are and see if they're a good fit for Chandler down the road," Hartke said.

Red Development builds, owns and operates high-end shopping centers and has developed shopping centers in Fulton Ranch, the last of Chandler's large master-planned developments.

The company also is in the early stages of a project on 68 acres at Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo Road, according to city records.

Mark Taylor owns and operates eight luxury apartment complexes in Chandler.

Candidates have each filed two reports to document fundraising activity from the beginning of the year.

The one filed Thursday shows the fundraising from June 1 to Aug. 13, which is when the money started pouring in for most candidates.

Heumann, who used to be on the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, leads in the money tally, generating $22,615 in that period from contributors who gave $25 or more.

The Red Development executives gave Heumann a total of $1,950 as did four attorneys with Withey Morris, a law firm that specializes in land-use issues.

In all, land-use attorneys gave Heumann $3,390 and real estate agents gave him $4,429.

He raised $26,065 in total, but he said it won't buy his vote on projects.

"The thing that the zoning attorneys and the development community know is that I want the best for Chandler, I want the best projects for Chandler, the best quality and they know where I stand," Heumann said.

Orlando, the only incumbent in the group vying for three seats on the council, raised the second highest amount of money.

He received more from political action committees than his opponents, raking in $6,300 from four firefighters unions and homebuilder, waste management and apartment associations, and a union representing food workers.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Coalition - a union representing 1.3 million grocery store, meat packing, food processing and manufacturing employees, gave Orlando $2,000.

The UFCW gave $1,000 to Heumann and Hartke.

The union has long been at odds with Wal-Mart for the retail giant's refusal to unionize.

This year, the union sent fliers to Valley neighborhoods to slam Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's parent company, Tesco, over reports of tainted and spoiled food and its supposed mediocre environmental track record.

A union spokesman told the Tribune in May the flier was sent in part to force the grocery chain to the negotiating table on unionization.

Chandler City Council fundraising graphic by Gary Grado, Gabriel Utasi/TRIBUNE
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