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Consultant Claims Goldman "Stiffed Me?VbCrLf

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Political wonk turned mayoral candidate Paul Goldman, known for his daily e-mail blasts calling out City Council and Mayor L. Douglas Wilder for financial mismanagement, is in court for allegedly failing to pay a longtime campaign consultant.

The owner of Johnny Howard Designs Inc., who's worked for Goldman in various capacities for more than 20 years, says Goldman owes him $4,042.49 in unpaid fees. Specifically, Howard says that Goldman failed to pay for the campaign mailers and other materials he developed for Goldman's unsuccessful bid for City Council in 2006.ÿ

ÿIn addition to Goldman's campaign, Howard has worked with Goldman throughout his career as longtime aide and adviser to Wilder during his campaigns for lieutenant governor, governor, and then, of course, mayor.

When Goldman failed to pay up after his council campaign in the 1st District, Howard says, he felt no choice but to settle the matter in court. A hearing on the lawsuit is set for June 30 in Henrico County General District Court.

"That's my operating budget," Howard says of the alleged unpaid fees. "He's stiffing me and I'm stiffing other people."

Goldman wouldn't confirm or deny whether he owed the money, saying only the claim of unpaid fees was Howard's "opinion."ÿ

"Anybody can sue anybody," Goldman says. "In court, he's going to have to show those receipts."

Howard says the unpaid fees were for two campaign mailings for a total of 20,000 fliers. According to Goldman's Oct. 30, 2006, campaign finance report, the mailings cost $1,543.50 and $1,363.43. Howard also designed and printed 1,500 yard signs for Goldman's failed City Council campaign costing $1,626.73.

All told, Howard says Goldman owed him $4,533.66 for work on the 2006 campaign, of which Goldman paid $1,000 last July. With interest, Howard says, the balance comes to $4,042.49.ÿ
Chris Piper, who previously managed the campaign finance division of the Virginia State Board of Elections, says the lawsuit won't have any material effect on Goldman's mayoral bid because the state views the campaigns as separate entities.ÿ

In 20 years of working with Goldman, Howard says this is the first time Goldman has failed to pay a bill.

Howard says he's mailed, called and e-mailed Goldman, doing "everything except go down there and choke it out of him."ÿ
-- Megan Wilsonÿ

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