Ponto's campaign funding three times that of Speaker

City of Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto answers a question posed by the narrator during a mayoral forum hosted by the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce on Mar. 13.

City of Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto answers a question posed by the narrator during a mayoral forum hosted by the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce on Mar. 13. Photo By Mary Catanese

March 26, 2014

The campaign finance reports for Mayor Steve Ponto and former mayor Jeff Speaker, who are competing for election April 1, are starkly different, with Ponto's running 29 pages and Speaker's ending at Page 4.

Between January and March 24, when the reports were due, Ponto's campaign raised $9,834 and spent $3,518. Speaker raised $2,750 and spent $599. Ponto went into the period already with $10,297. Speaker started with $2,134.

Speaker's campaign had 16 donors, all but three of whom are Brookfield residents. Some are heads of businesses: Rodney Reineke, chief financial officer for KPH Construction Corp.; Keith Harenda, president of KPH; and Brian Nelson, owner of ICM Corp. The donations range from $100 to $375.

Ponto's 228 donations are also mostly from Brookfield residents and range from $25 to $375. Business leaders on his list include Ned Purtell, owner of RFP Commercial; John Silseth, president of Antietam; and Dhirendra Dhir, owner of DHIR Group.

Other notable figures who donated to Ponto include School Board President Tom Gehl; Mushir Hassan, a leader in establishing a mosque in Brookfield; Elmbrook Rotary Club President Gary Zwirlein; and at least six current aldermen: Jeff McCarthy, Rick Owen, Renee Lowerr, Gary Mahkorn, Bill Carnell and Bob Reddin. Ponto said these donations came from his St. Patrick's Day party, which asked for a $25 suggested donation.

Ponto said he thought the list was a show of wide support.

"Most of them are smaller contributions," he said. "I think it's a very broad-based campaign. We have people from all over the city participating, and I'm just delighted."

Speaker said he wasn't worried about raising less money, saying he spent his time just as he wanted.

"I spent my time going out and walking and talking to the people," he said. "When it comes to a campaign on a municipal level, personal interaction is what's going to win the race."

The $599 Speaker had spent with campaign money as of March 24 all went toward yard signs from Sign Synergy. He has $4,284 left.

Ponto's campaign spent about $2,000 advertising in Brookfield NOW, $315 advertising through Facebook, and several hundred dollars on postage, envelopes and color printing. The campaign has $16,213 left, but owes an additional $4,000 for yard signs, a fundraiser at Brookfield Suites Hotel and data processing and mailing by United Mailing Services for his postcards. Ponto said he had not been billed yet for these services at the time of filing.

The campaign also owes Ponto $5,500 for a personal loan he made to the campaign in 2010, which Ponto said he will get back only if there's extra money.

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