And then there were six… maybe.
MAUIWatch founder Neldon Mamuad–one of seven people running for Maui County Mayor this year–got a bad break today when Maui County Clerk Danny Mateo voided his official nomination papers, saying Mamuad didn’t meet the deadline in filing his financial disclosure form.
“By not filing his financial disclosure statement concurrently with his nomination papers by the June 3 deadline, Neldon Mamuad failed to comply with the requirements,” Mateo said in the June 18 county press release. “His oath as to compliance will be deemed invalid and his nomination papers incomplete and void.”
The original complaint against Mamuad–who filed his candidacy papers just minutes before the deadline–came from Richard Minatoya, an attorney at the Maui County Prosecutor’s office (state Campaign Spending Commission records also show Minatoya donated $300 to incumbent Mayor Alan Arakawa’s campaign back in 2011). Because of Mateo’s finding today, the County Clerk’s office will file a complaint with the circuit court for a determination on Mamuad’s candidacy.
But within minutes of the press release from Mateo’s office, Mamuad’s own campaign fired back with a defensive response that says “Clerk’s staff” (who Mamuad doesn’t name) told him he could file his older County Liquor Commissioner financial disclosure statement instead of handing in a new one with his nomination papers, which is what the law requires. He adds that he didn’t find out any problem until two days after he filed, and calls the whole thing an “honest mistake.”
“I’m disappointed in the miscommunication between my campaign and the Clerk’s office but I’m looking forward to presenting my case to the circuit court and resolving this matter as soon as possible so my bid for Mayor of the County of Maui can continue,” Mamuad said in his own June 18 press release. “I’m confident that our argument passes the ‘reasonable person test’ in which any reasonable person would see that this was a simple miscommunication, not a blatant disregard for the law. We hope the judge will see this case for what it is, an honest mistake exploited by the incumbents political operatives for political gain.”
Of course, a “reasonable person” might also conclude that since six other people running for mayor–including a guy who just spent 10 months in prison*–somehow managed to file their nomination papers completely and on time, the top job might a bit more than Mamuad can handle at the moment.
* There was also a challenge to this guy–that would be Nelson Waikiki, Jr.–but Mateo also announced today that his nomination papers were “in compliance.”
Photo courtesy Neldon Mamuad’s Google+ page