WhiskeyPete Revealed

WhiskeyPete Revealed

WhiskeyPete Revealed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Becker’s Office Disavows Spokesman’s Online Posts; Garrott Says It’s Nothing New for Becker PR Machine.

David Everitt, chief of staff for Mayor Ralph Becker, denies any knowledge that one of his top aides was posting campaign attacks while on the job, using city time and computers. Mayoral challenger Luke Garrott says it’s a violation of state and city law, and a pattern in the Mayor’s Office.

Salt Lake City, July 31, 2015 – Mayor Ralph Becker will face the August 11 primary election without his official city spokesman after allegations of campaigning with city resources surfaced late yesterday.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Art Raymond, deputy communications director and spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, had been posting anonymously on the Tribune’s website. Raymond posted using the pseudonym WhiskeyPete to criticize mayoral challengers and promote Becker’s time in office. The Tribune connected the posts to city IP addresses.

During an interview with the Tribune, Raymond admitted to posting from his work computer. After the interview, the mayor’s chief of staff David Everitt told the Tribune that Raymond would be placed on leave while the city investigated the matter. However, Everitt was quick to deny any knowledge of Raymond’s actions and downplayed his role in the Becker administration.

Salt Lake City Council chairman and mayoral candidate Luke Garrott says that Becker’s office cannot disavow Raymond so easily. “Art Raymond is a top official in Ralph’s cabinet. He handles every media request to the administration and is trusted to serve as the city’s official spokesman. For Everitt to claim they had no knowledge about this shows they’ll scapegoat anyone to save themselves. To claim that Raymond is a lone wolf is laughable.”

“The line between the Mayor’s Office and Ralph’s campaign has been blurred for months,” Garrott continued. “When you see city announcements immediately followed by campaign messages on the same issue, it’s not hard to sense the coordination. David Everitt, the Chief of Staff, has been heard around city hall saying that everything they do must be considered through a campaign lens.”

Garrott also noted the history of Becker using campaign staff in the Mayor’s Office. “Look at David Everitt, Matt Lyon, Bianca Shreeve and others and you’ll see that Ralph has always had an inner circle among his staff who wear both city and campaign hats,” Garrott explained. “The Tribune caught Art Raymond playing both sides of the game, illegally I might add, and Ralph’s poll numbers are slipping. Like with Chris Burbank, the Mayor and his chief of staff have no problem passing responsibility onto someone else and throwing them under the streetcar.”

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Reference: The Salt Lake Tribune article on Raymond

Richard Jaramillo

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