Court rules in favor of Montevallo mayor for third time

Published 10:49 am Monday, December 21, 2009

The Alabama Supreme Court recently ended a more than one-year Montevallo election dispute when it decided the city’s current mayor properly disclosed his campaign contributions.

The court ruled Mayor Ben McCrory properly filed all required campaign finance disclosures before the city’s 2008 elections, though he filed some disclosures outside the allotted time restraints.

The decision came after election runner-up, Steven Sears, filed a complaint against McCrory, and marked the third time in little more than a year McCrory has been confirmed as Montevallo’s mayor.

“It has been a long haul. First the regular election, then I won the runoff, then the vote was challenged, then the civil court said I was innocent, then the appeals court found me innocent and now the Supreme Court said I’m innocent,” McCrory said.

“All three courts said there was no factual material to dispute in this case,” McCrory added. “I am extremely pleased with the result. We indicated throughout these 14 months or so that it would turn out like this.”

During the 2008 election, McCrory and Sears entered into a runoff, in which McCrory gathered 412 votes to Sears’ 403. After the runoff, Sears filed a complaint claiming McCrory violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

Sears said he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision, and said McCrory did not completely report all of his campaign expenditures and contributions.

“It’s like the Supreme Court is saying any filing will do,” Sears said. “The court more or less repealed the requirements by not enforcing them.

“Theoretically, the court could change its mind if done in a certain amount of time, but that is unlikely,” Sears added. “I don’t see this going any further.”

McCrory said he expected the Supreme Court’s finding, and called the ruling a “good Christmas present.”

“We have not been negative toward Mr. Sears in any way, and that was on purpose,” McCrory said. “We don’t think it was the right thing to do, but it was his right to do that.

“I don’t feel this has affected my performance in any way. I’ve been working all the time to uphold the promises I made during my campaign,” McCrory added. “I regret that I had to go through this, and I regret the people who support me had to go through this.”