Trustee candidate claims opponent's campaign took money from dead man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Trustee candidate claims opponent's campaign took money from dead man

A local candidate is accusing his opponent of taking a campaign contribution from a dead man.

Recently appointed Shelby County Trustee Paul Mattila says his opponent did the unthinkable.

"Morally, it's wrong," he said.

Mattila was talking about a campaign contribution made to the Committee to Elect Ray Butler, from the Committee to Elect Bob Patterson.

"We're talking about a check that was written three months after the man passed away," Mattila said.

Eighteen year trustee Patterson died of a heart attack in January, but Butler's campaign disclosure shows the contribution of $2,820.60 April 25th.

"There's a limit on campaign contributions," Mattila said. "There's all kinds of issues here."

In an interview Thursday, Butler disagreed.

"I think my Democratic opponent is overreacting," he said.

Butler said, as Patterson's treasurer, he had a legal right to move the money to his campaign.

"It was all above board," he said. "It was disclosed as it's supposed to be, and I followed the Tennessee state law, and there were no limitations to it."
Butler said Patterson was like a brother.

"When my father had a stroke before he died, Bob was one of the few people that went by to see my dad every day," Butler said. "That's how close Bob and I were."

Both candidates claim they had Patterson's backing,and now Mattila wants an investigation.

"The majority of the people we've talked to felt that money should have went to charity," he said. "I don't think anybody should have personally gained from it."

Mattila's campaign has filed a formal complaint to the Coordinator of Elections in Nashville.  It's unknown how long it will take that office to complete the investigation.

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