A judicial panel has found that material used in the campaign of the newly-elected mayor of Orono last year violated state law.
According to the panel of judges, a website and mailings under the banner "OronoWatch4U" promoting Dennis Walsh for mayor illegally attacked Mayor Lili McMillan and Council Members Lizz Levang and Jim Cornick.
The panel ruled, on behalf of the Office of Administrative Hearings, that the website and mailings violated a long-standing Minnesota election law requiring a disclaimer on campaign material produced by an organization.
The material charged the other candidates with a lack of transparency and an unwillingness to vote in lock-step with Walsh on council actions.
Walsh, who is serving a two-year term, declined to comment. The campaign material was produced by Phil Little IV, according to the ruling. The ruling didn't say if Walsh had knowledge of the materials. Little was fined $750 for the violation.
An attorney who represented Little regarding the complaint couldn't be reached for comment.
The judges stated that the complainants "established by a preponderance of evidence that the document at issue is campaign material, and the respondent was required to include a disclaimer. By failing to include a disclaimer on the campaign material, respondent violated [state law]."
Walsh won 52.1 percent of the 4,896 votes cast while McMillan captured 47.51 percent, losing by a margin of 225 votes. There can be no "do over" of the vote or a recount, Leer said.
Orono is a west metro community of about 8,000 residents.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465