Taylor mayor spent $12K in campaign funds on fancy clothes, dry cleaning

October 11, 2019, 9:24 AM

Mayor Rick Sollars' department store of choice. (Photos: Facebook, City of Taylor)

How many snazzy suits can campaign money buy? None, presumably, if you're most politicians in the state. At least several, if you're the mayor of Taylor, whose home and office were raided by the FBI in April.

According to a WXYZ review of campaign finance disclosures, Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars has been spending beaucoup donor bucks to spiff it up:

Beginning in 2017, the same year Sollars ran unopposed, records show he made six different purchases at the department store Von Maur.

“They would have been for suits for my position as mayor,” Sollars told Channel 7’s Ross Jones. “It could be sport coats, it could be shoes, but it would all be related to my position as mayor.”

Records show Sollars also spent $410 at the men’s shoe store Johnston and Murphy. $1,406 at Macy’s, hundreds more at JC Penny’s and Target and another $3,009 at the dry cleaners.

But is it illegal? WXYZ reports Michigan law bars candidates from personally benefiting from their campaign funds. But Sollars' attorney says the law does allow candidates to pay for “incidental expenses” to holding office.

Cue the campaign finance expert for clarity:

Former Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas said he couldn't think of a justification for billing personal clothing to a campaign, even if a public official wears the clothing to work.

"There are several categories that are permissible," he said "and nowhere is personal clothing included."

Thomas tells WXYZ Sollars could run him into trouble with the Secretary of State. 

As for his trouble with the FBI — $200,000 cash was seized during the April raids, but he's not been charged with any crimes.

Read more:  WXYZ

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