ichmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring says he wants to decide by year's end how to handle a case that involves missing funds from Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's 1989 run for governor.
In July 2004, officials with the State Board of Elections discovered that the former governor's campaign committee did not properly file its final campaign finance disclosure report. A remaining $172,571 from the campaign has yet to be accounted for.
The State Board of Elections forwards all campaign finance indiscretions that may warrant investigation to the Richmond Commonwealth Attorney's Office. That's what it did with the Wilder campaign in September 2005.
Herring came into office in January, and told Style in March that he hoped to have the case out of his office "by midspring." But his office has endured a year of high-profile criminal cases that swamped prosecutors.
Now Herring says a decision will come soon about whether to pursue action against members of Wilder's past campaign committee or call for a special prosecutor to reexamine the case. Wilder himself is not the subject of any investigation, Herring says.
Because of high profiles of the people involved, Herring says it's likely that the case will be handed off to a special prosecutor.
"I do want to be able to answer questions from people when they inevitably ask why did you do this or why did you do that," Herring says. "Those questions are bound to arise when they read the last names involved."
The campaign-finance disclosure report in question was filed in January 1999 by then-campaign treasurer Lawrence D. Wilder Jr., the mayor's son. It listed $172,571 in leftover campaign funds. The younger Wilder resigned from the post soon thereafter, and longtime Wilder political sidekick Paul Goldman took over as campaign treasurer.
But there was no follow-up report to reveal what happened to those funds. Goldman informed the State Board of Elections a year ago that the documentation regarding the missing funds no longer existed. In a letter to the election board, Goldman said that all but $3,289 of the unreported funds "went to Mr. Larry Wilder."
Herring says he's not aware of how far along his prosecutors assigned to the case are, but he wants to give them "as much time as they need."
Still, he's hoping it's done before 2007. "I want it finished," Herring says. "I want to start the year with a clean slate." SClick here for more News and Features