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State Still Seeks Wilder's Long-Lost '89 Campaign Fund

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For those wondering if Mayor L. Douglas Wilder might surprise Richmond and mount a second-term write-in campaign, any such effort would be a no-go.

It seems Wilder still hasn't filed a final campaign finance report with the state for his 1989 gubernatorial campaign, which by law prevents him from taking office for a second term.

David Allen, campaign finance manager with the State Board of Elections, says his office has yet to receive the required report, the most recent update of which was due in July.

"Nothing's been done," Allen says, referring to the account as a "problem file."

In fact, it's the state's biggest problem file. The problem: Wilder never explained just what happened to $170,000 in missing campaign funds from his gubernatorial bid.

In court last year, Wilder's son, Larry Wilder, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges relating to the missing finance reports. At the time, Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring said his office's investigation indicated the money had been misappropriated by the younger Wilder.

But because Larry Wilder did not plead guilty to anything indicating how or why the funds were taken — and the elder Wilder refused to press charges — filling in the blank on the state's finance report form remains a high hurdle for the mayor.

Last December, city election-board secretary Nancy Rodrigues sent a letter to Wilder asking him again to settle on his accounts. Due to changes in state law since Wilder took office, the filing's continued absence might have prevented his second term.

Allen says the office has yet to hear a reply — or even an acknowledgement — from Wilder's office.

Wilder spokesman Linwood Norman had no word on anything about the status of the filings.

Allen says fines against the account for failure to file may be mounting. In July 2005, then acting-campaign treasurer Paul Goldman informed the election board he was leaving a few thousand in the account to cover any fines, but Allen says it's unclear whether that money will cover what is owed.

"We need to get some resolution to this," Allen says. "It's just a question of how you do it."

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