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LYNN — City Council President Darren Cyr has addressed the recent letters he has received from the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) regarding finance issues within his campaign for mayor.
Cyr received a letter in June regarding four excess contributions — meaning that four individuals contributed more than the $1,000 calendar-year limit — missing clarification on expenditures, and missing or incomplete occupation and employer information for individuals who have contributed more than $200.
On July 15, he received a letter regarding another excess contribution, clarifying expenditures and issues regarding the deposit of funds from Venmo.
On Aug. 19, Cyr received another letter with two more expenditures in need of clarification.
According to the OCPF’s website, Cyr has received more than 30 of these letters depicting similar issues since 2017.
With each letter, a date is provided to resolve the issue, which Cyr and his campaign treasurer, Richard Parker, said they always meet.
Cyr emphasized that his campaign is in constant contact with the OCPF asking for additional information and a letter is sent to make it official and have a record of the issues resolved.
“It doesn’t mean that there was any illegal activity or anything like that done,” Cyr said.
Some of the expenditures listed in the letters in need of explanation include money spent at restaurants, which Cyr said is used to feed his volunteers after working all day or to pay for food at fundraisers.
If someone donates too much money and exceeds the $1,000 limit, Cyr said his campaign refunds the donor once this is discovered.
“We’re trying to do everything we can possibly do to make sure everything is above board, upfront and honest,” Cyr said. “If we’re given a deadline, we will get it done.”
Cyr said he has a great deal of people coming to him, or his campaign team, making donations, and sometimes the person on the team who takes the check doesn’t know they need to get certain information from the donor if the price exceeds a certain amount.
If this does happen, Parker said he will reach out to these donors when reviewing the donations and add the additional information needed online.
Usually by the time the letters are sent, Cyr said, the problems have already been resolved.
He emphasized that he cannot handle any of the money or ask people for donations so his team handles the funds, but it is his job to ensure whoever is responsible for fixing any issues does so.
Cyr said the people on his team handling the donations are not paid and have other full-time jobs, so they set aside time during the week to focus on updating and inputting any financial information, and call the OCPF if there are any questions.
When explaining some of the issues listed in the letters, Parker said it can sometimes be as simple as not being able to read a check, so he has to go back and clarify what the check says and what it is for.
He also said that sometimes he has to wait for receipts to come in from other people on the campaign team, so he can update the expenditures online.
With Cyr now running for mayor, Parker said he has been learning OCPF’s system and requirements that coincide with this larger-scale campaign.
Cyr said there hasn’t been a time where his campaign hasn’t done what the OCPF requires them to do, and there is nothing illegal going on with the funding of his campaign.
With all of the finances for his and the other campaigns available for the public to view on www.ocpf.us, Cyr said that everyone can see he is running a clean campaign.
Cyr is one of three candidates running for mayor in Lynn; the other candidates are School Committee members Jared Nicholson and Michael Satterwhite. The two candidates with the highest number of votes in the Sept. 14 primary will be on the ballot for the Nov. 2 city election. Current Mayor Thomas M. McGee opted not to run for reelection.
Allysha Dunnigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org