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Fines And Endorsements For Dunn In Miami District 5 Runoff

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The good news for Miami commission candidate Richard P. Dunn II: important endorsements. The bad news: a fine of up to $6,000 for late campaign finance reports.

At a news conference Wednesday, Dunn's had North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau and former Mayor Joe Celestin standing by his side. County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson sent some staffers. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and commissioners Marc Sarnoff and Wifredo "Willy" Gort, who were absent, have also endorsed the candidate, according to the Dunn campaign.

Dunn is in a runoff next week against Keon Hardemon. Although an early favorite, Dunn just barely got enough votes to make the runoff. Hardemon secured twice as many votes as Dunn.

Gregory King, Dunn's campaign manager, is gone. Miami-Dade Children's Trust executive Jacqui Colyer, who ended up in third place just a handful of votes behind Dunn, is now his de facto manager, and he has hired many of her staffers.

Meanwhile, city elections coordinator Dwight Danie was crafting a letter informing Dunn that he would be fined up to $6,000 for the most recent campaign report, due at the beginning of the month but filed 12 days late, according to our news partners at the Miami Herald.

Dunn Wednesday if he receives a letter from the city about the fine he will appeal to the state's Division of Elections.
"We have a new team working on that now," he said.

The fine — $500 a day for each late day — is the latest in what is now a laundry list of campaign-finance irregularities the senior pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church is dealing with as he campaigns for the city's District 5 seat to replace term-limited Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. Spence-Jones, still popular throughout her district, is a key supporter of Hardemon's.

The city received Dunn's most recent report on Tuesday, It lists contributions of $46,950, but no expenditures.

"He can appeal [the fine] to the state," Danie said.

As he has for the past three weeks, Dunn refused to respond to questions about his campaign's finances. After a lengthy speech Wednesday about unity, he said now isn't the time to address those issues.

"Not today," he said.

Dunn hasn't addressed the issue, instead insisting the media and the candidates should be focused on the concerns of the district's residents, like crime and public housing. District 5, the most diverse and poor in the city, runs from Overtown, through Little Haiti and Liberty City, and east to Shorecrest and Belle Meade.

Dunn has more political experience than Hardemon, who ran for office unsuccessfully last year against Edmonson for a county commission seat.

Hardemon's campaign is receiving assistance from his aunt and uncle, Barbara and Billy Hardemon.

Billy Hardemon was the chief aide to former county commissioner James Burke, who was found guilty of pushing through a 1996 county bond for San Francisco bond dealer Calvin Grigsby in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars. Burke received a 27-month prison term. Billy Hardemon, charged with bribery conspiracy, was acquitted after a two-month trial.

Dunn has repeatedly held the District 5 seat. In the mid 1990s he was chosen to replace Miller Dawkins, who had been arrested and suspended from office. Dunn lost a race for the same commission seat in 2005 to Spence-Jones, but was later chosen to replace her after she was arrested and suspended from office in 2010.

A year later, he won a special election for the seat, only to be replaced by Spence-Jones in mid-2011 after she beat a felony charge and another was dropped.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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