September 14, 2011
Former Charlottesville City Council candidate James Halfaday claimed on official campaign paperwork that he was a co-owner of Snap Fitness in Seminole Square. That claim has been disputed by some people, and now the Commonwealth's Attorney will be investigating its validity.
“This is very troubling for the Democratic party, considering one of our primary candidates has been accused of a pretty serious crime,” said Jim Nix, Chairman of the Charlottesville Democratic Party.
That crime is election fraud. The Charlottesville Board of Elections voted Wednesday to turn over Halfaday's campaign documents to the Commonwealth's Attorney.
“It's being turned over because there is information, credible information, that the Board has received that some of the information on there is not accurate,” said Charlottesville Registrar Sheri Iachetta.
For example, the Democratic candidate claimed he's co-owner of Snap Fitness, however owners say he's never even been an employee there. The Board is also curious about 21 separate campaign donations of $499 dollars, amounting to more than $10,400, of which records show he has only spent slightly more than $900.
“We're really troubled by it,” Nix commented. “It's not something we like to see from our candidates.”
The registrar's office tells CBS19 they hope to learn more about Halfaday's “suspicious campaign finance numbers” after they receive his final campaign finance report on Thursday.
Halfaday finished last in the field of seven Democratic candidates vying for three nominations to be on the November ballot.
CBS19 repeatedly attempted to contact Halfaday for comment, but has not received any response. If the Commonwealth's Attorney determines that the former candidate intentionally submitted false campaign information, he could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of $2,500.