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Politics and Government

Onondaga County legislator calls out opponent for not filing campaign finance reports

Vernon Williams.jpg
Tom Magnarelli
Onondaga County Legislator Vernon Williams Jr. speaks at a press conference in Syracuse Thursday

One of the races for the Onondaga County Legislature pits two Democrats against each other. Charles Garland won the June primary against the incumbent, Vernon Williams Jr. Williams is not backing down and is running on the Working Families Party line. Williams is calling out Garland for not filing any campaign finance reports.

Standing in front of a billboard of Garland in Syracuse, Williams said Garland can’t be trusted with the county’s billion-dollar budget if he can’t even create a campaign account and release financial disclosures.

“The questions is, what account are you drawing out of to spend these lavishly billboards and signs?” Williams said.

There are no financial filings by Garland on the New York State Board of Elections website, something that’s required of candidates running for office. Garland admits the error, saying he emailed the committee form back in February, but it needed to be mailed to the Board of Elections. He said he now has his pin number and he’ll file the financial disclosure reports soon. Garland has missed a few filing deadlines and he could face monetary penalties. He said his campaign is self-funded. But Williams said that’s not good enough.

“It’s cool to be self-funded, but there’s a proper way of doing it,” he said. “If you want to loan your campaign money, that’s legal. But what you can’t do, is just swipe your own credit card. The public deserves to know how we are spending money on our campaign.”

Williams’ filings show he’s raised more than $4,000. He said a complaint against Garland has been raised to the state Boards of Elections. The Board won't comment on any complaint or investigation.

Garland said he’s a novice and has no one to blame but himself. But Williams said Garland also didn’t file financial reports when they ran against each other in 2019.