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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Browning Raises Nearly Twice as Much as Ott in LC Exec Race

Scott Ott
Lehigh County Exec candidate Dean Browning has raised nearly twice as much money as his opponent, Scott Ott, in their race for the GOP nomination to Lehigh County Executive. This is according to the primary pre-election reports that are now both amazingly online at the Lehigh County Voter Registration office.

Before I go on to discuss these reports, I want to acknowledge the hard work of Tim Benyo and his staff. I honestly don't know how they got these online so fast, but it is a great public service.

Now, back to the insults.

Browning's report reveals that he put $19,500 of his own money into this race, before seeking any contributions. I counted 61 individual contributors. Most of them appear to be business associates and family. Most of the usual Republican contributors appear to be sitting this one out, although there are exceptions like Sean Boyle, Anthony Salvaggio, former Allentown Mayor Bill Heydt, John Hinkle, Stuart Smith. There's some interesting minor contributions, too, from CACLV's Alan Jennings and former Allentown Council member Tom Burke.

Dean Browning
Dean's biggest expense has been a $20,498 payment for cable TV ads.

Ott raised $63,111.85. Of that sum, $10,000 comes from Ott's "My Lehigh County PaC." Since that is a Harrisburg PAC, and was not filed electronically, we won't know who provided that #$10,000 for Ott until after the election.

So much for Ott's so-called "reform" team.

Lisa Sceller, a fellow Commissioner and fellow "reform" tam member, provided Ott with $20,000, about 1/3 of his total.

I am by no mean troubled by Lisa's desire and willingness to support someone who thinks like she does. But I am bothered that a sitting Commissioner is making such a large contribution to an Executive candidate. Those are supposed to be two different branches of government, independent of each other. It bothered me four years ago when then Executive Don Cunningham contributed so much money to Democratic Commissioner candidate, and it bothers me now when an incumbent Commissioner is giving so much money to an Executiv candidate.

This is not what I mean by "reform."

Most of Ott's money has gone to Cold Spark Media, which appears to have been enough for at least four mailers.


Anonymous said...

Browning spent over $80,000 to coast to a sixth place finish in the County Commissioner primary in 2011 (5047 votes), so we shouldn't read too much into this. Just because he raises money doesn't mean he spends it effectively.

Mark Baker said...

Ott and his ilk are as wacky as his main squeeze booby grunter weasel.

Vote Browning

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't Scheller, who like Ott wants to lower county property taxes, contribute to Ott instead of tax-hiker Dean?

The alternative is accepting more of the same from either Browning or his alter-ego Muller, both the architects of the 16% tax hike.

Anonymous said...


Why don't you note that less than 15 percent of Brownings total comes from residents of Lehigh County and aren't employed by New World Aviation, Brownings employer? Two donors Mr Petrini and Mr Hinkle are 25% of that local total. Browning has nearly no local financial support.

Why don't you note that browning's company is owned by the same fella that runs KEC Holdings, Jefferey A Citron. Several very large contributions came from employees of both companies. Mr Citron was found guilty of securities fraud when he ran Datek securities and paid a $22.5 million fine and was banned for life from the securities business. As the man who runs Vonage he foisted overpriced IPO shares on unsophisticated Vonage subscribers. The stock fell from 17 to 12 in its first week after going public in 2006 and hovers around 2 today. Multiple class actions were filed. Why do you ignore the character of Brownings boss and the fact that a significant sum of his haul came from employees of his companies? If I was a CFO like browning I would not associate myself with a man like Citron...would you? Maybe these employees are just remarkably enthusiastic for politics in a county they don't reside in given the large size of their contributions.

Don't you also find it unusual that the vast majority of his funding is coming from so many out of staters and almost no in county donors?

Ott has a great deal of local financial support and while you highlight Schellers support as if its inappropriate I would point out that the speaker of the house Bohener as well as his counterpart Ms Pelosi both provided significant support for their presidential candidates and the holds true in Harrisburg when it comes to governor elections. She is not undermining the seperation off power between the executive and the commission any more than Browning did when he supported Ott in 2009 for his Executive run against Cunningham.

Between Citron, a man with a pattern of bad acts, and Scheller, a woman whose contributions to this community as well as in the counties and countries her business operates, the choice of whose backing is suspect is clear.

Why not report that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think I did I pointed out that most of the usual contributors are sitting this one out and that Dean is relying on family and business associates for most of his contributions. Ott is relying mostly on aluminum.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Why wouldn't Scheller, who like Ott wants to lower county property taxes, contribute to Ott instead of tax-hiker Dean?"

Because all OTT has done is increase the County's deficit, which means an even bigger tax hike. I prefer more responsible leadership.

Anonymous said...

Dean is the do not confuse effort with results candidate. He has raised plenty of money paired with lousy electoral performances.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"we shouldn't read too much into this. Just because he raises money doesn't mean he spends it effectively"

Yes, I've been told Browning is being taken lightly. Hubris.

Anonymous said...


You didn't address my main point. You are quick to point out associations between those don't support....this one hired a manager with a criminal past, that one is in bed with Palowski and then draw dark motives to them.

Why do you ignore Brownings relationship with Citron? What is the difference between hiring someone with a suspect past and taking very large sums of money from employees of someone with a long history of fraudulent behavior.

As for your ridiculous allegation that Ott and Scheller want to take government down brick by brick.....Its ridiculous on its face and cannot be supported in any of their votes on the record. You seem to be fascinated with Meals on Wheels so let me point out that if you review the Lehigh County IRS 990 for MOW it will show a liquid securities portfolio of roughly 1.25 million dollars and an annual operating need of around $300,000. Is it not reasonable to question why an entity, even one that does admirable work, would need any government money to sustain itself when it has nearly 4 years of reserves? Isnt it even more reasonable to ask questions and deliberate no matter your point of view? Isnt it even more necesary when government is under severe financial pressure? Lehigh County has seen its taxes rise 75% or so in just over a decade.

The argument that its federally funded and therefore free is a ridiculous rationalization. Given that position why not fund nearly any project regardless of its efficacy. Thats how the whole country wound up the way it is....one free money project after another.

Lets see if r response demonstrates whether you are legit or simply fronting as a PR flak for a mancrush.

Anonymous said...

Ott derailed Cunningham's gubernatorial dreams using soda bottle deposit money against a fundraising Leviathan. Don't misunderestimate him. Browning's 16% tax increase will require a lot of money to paper over. Better spend it all, Dean.

Anonymous said...

Scheller's committee funded the My Lehigh County PAC to the tune of at least $21,000 in 2011, so chances are good that the $10,000 came from her as well.

Anonymous said...

"Because all OTT has done is increase the County's deficit, which means an even bigger tax hike. I prefer more responsible leadership."

Yes, let's ignore Browning's REAL tax hike for the one in your imagination.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:35, To be honest with you, this is the first time I have ever heard that Citron owns New World, that he has been banned from securities or that he is connected with Dean in any way. I am surprised that in all the years in which Dean has been in politics, this has never surfaced until now, and that it surfaces in an anonymous comment. Needless to say, I will look into the allegations.

Anonymous said...

If more money was the issue, we wouldn't be discussing Scott. He's shown an ability to win with winning issues. Those coat less money to sell than losing issues, like "why I jacked your taxes 16% and still think I'll prevail in a GOP primary using mostly out of county money.". Good luck with that, Dean.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have researched Citron, who incidentally is not listed among Browning's contributors. He did enter into a consent order and was fined by the SEC, but interestingly, no criminal charges were ever filed. Citron now chairs the board of Vonage. His wife owns New World.

There are many things you fail to point out in your effort to muddy up Dean b pointing out the dark side of someone who did not even contribute to his campaign.

Among your omissions is that Citron and his wife are the founders of the The Charles Lafitte Foundation, which provides grants for education, children's advocacy, medical research and the arts.

You also fail to point out that the Citrons were recognized by Congress just last year for "their tireless efforts and work with the community." This include Suzanne's work on the American Cancer Society Advisory Board of the Jersey Shore. Pretty strange for someone you portray as a dirtbag.

You deliberately omitted several salient details.



Anonymous said...

Browning will win in November. He's conservative but he isn't a libertarian wackjob. Ott is a known crazy at this point and won't be able to overcome an actual race taking place in November in Allentown with Pawlowski and Donovan. Even if Donovan doesn't make that much of a race of it, it will have Pawlowski spending money to turnout voters who regardless of whether they vote for Donovan or Pawlowski won't be voting for Ott. Browning can get some conservative democrat and moderate independent vote by not being crazy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie how has Ott increased the deficit?

Anonymous said...

Scheller's PAC just gave an additional $5000 to Ott's campaign- two new 24 hour reports have been filed this week.