CHARLES TOWN – Two Jefferson County school board candidates have been each charged with failing to file financial statements for their June 9 primary election campaigns.
Phillip (Dan) Hournbuckle and Erin Bajada, both with Harpers Ferry-area addresses, face separate misdemeanor charges for allegedly not reporting campaign contributions and spending, according to Jefferson County Circuit Court records.
Hournbuckle, who received 847 votes during the school board election, the fewest of 11 school board candidates vying for three positions on the primary ballot, faces three charges for allegedly failing to file three campaign reports as West Virginia law requires of public office seekers.
The charges against him relate to a first-quarter financial statement covering campaign transactions from Jan. 1 to March 31; a “primary report” for transactions from April 1 to May 24; and a second-quarter financial statement for May 25 to June 30, according to a court charging document.
Bajada, who took eighth place in the school board election with 2,053 votes, faces a single misdemeanor charge for allegedly failing to file a first-quarter financial statement. The first-quarter covers the campaign period of Jan. 1 to March 31, according to a charging document.
The misdemeanor campaign reporting charges filed Oct. 5 against Hournbuckle and Bajada carry maximum potential penalties of a fine of no more than $1,000 and less than a year in jail.
The West Virginia Secretary of State also automatically fines candidates $10 a day for every day a campaign report is late. However, those fines can sometimes be reduced depending on the circumstances involved, according to a spokesperson for the secretary of state.
Hournbuckle, whose address in court documents and a candidate announcement certificate is listed as 225 Cedar Hill Dr. in Harpers Ferry, could not be reached for comment. He listed “N/A” for his phone and email contact information on a candidate declaration form filed with the County Clerk’s Office.
Bajada, whose address in court documents and a candidate announcement certificate is listed as 321 Peace Ridge Road in Harpers Ferry, did not return phone and email messages seeking information and comment.
Nikki Painter, Jefferson County’s chief deputy clerk of elections, could not be reached for comment this week.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Harvey declined to comment on the charges his office filed. He did say that Hournbuckle and Bajada remain innocent of any charge until and unless they might be convicted in a court of law.