Aaron Spiegeland has added another $5,050 to his campaign funds for the November Board of Education election, and almost half of it is from sources outside Verona.
According to a report that his campaign posted to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for its October 27 deadline, Spiegeland received $1,500 from Anthony Calandra of Newark and $1,000 from Dominique Paulin of Essex Fells. In addition, Spiegeland got
an additional $2,500 from Joanna Rolleczek, who is listed as residing at the same Verona address as Christian Strumolo, Spiegeland’s campaign manager. Rolleczek was listed on Spiegeland’s the first donation report from Diana Ferrera as giving $2,500. Paulin previously gave $1,000 to Ferrera.
According to the Commission, Spiegeland has raised $14,300 for his race. Of that, $6,600 has come from donors outside Verona, or 46%. Asked why he has taken so much outside money to run for a position that only involves Verona, Spiegeland said, “It’s important to educate residents on our platform and anyone who supports our position is free to contribute to our campaign.”
Diana Ferrera, who shares a campaign manager and treasurer with Spiegeland, reported $550 in additional contributions on her October 27 filing, $500 of which was an additional donation from Mike Dupree, a Verona resident who was listed in the last report as having given $500. Ferrera has received $12,100 in total donations to date, of which $4,000, or 33%, was from people who are not Verona residents.
State rules require a contribution report if any one of several different thresholds are hit, such as getting $300 from any one source, getting donations in cash, or receiving donations of campaign goods like signs. Campaigns also must report if expenses reach $5,800 or more.
Mike Boone, Sara Drappi and Denise Verzella, the three other candidates in the race, reported no additional donations for the October 27 deadline. Boone has pledged to self-fund his campaign and has spent just $455, while Drappi said two weeks ago that she raised just over $1,000 for her campaign. Verzella has reported raising $1,390.43. None of these three candidates has taken money from outside Verona.
Despite the amount of outside money in the Spiegeland and Ferrera campaigns, another recent Verona election has had more. In 2021, Christopher Tamburro got $15,717.82 in donations for his Town Council race, including an $8,200 donation from the NJEA Political Action Committee, accounting for 52% of his total donations. This week, many Verona residents received letter sent under Tamburro’s home address in Verona that was a copy of the letter posted online under his name endorsing Ferrera and Spiegeland. Tamburro has not responded to an email from MyVeronaNJ asking if he paid to send the letter, which could have cost roughly $3,000 in postage if it was sent to all Verona households. Neither the Ferrera nor Spiegeland campaign has reported that kind of mailer expense. The campaigns must submit a final donations and spending report once the election is over.
NOTE: A previous version of this story said that Spiegeland had twice received a donation of $2,500 from Joanna Rolleczek. He only received one, which was reported in the October 27 filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Diana Ferrera received one donation from Rolleczek of $2,500 that was reported on her October 9 filing. In that report, Ferrera also got $1,000 from Dominique Paulin. Paulin then donated $1,000 to Spiegeland, which was reported in his October 27 filing. Robert De Marino, the treasurer of both the Ferrera and Spiegeland campaigns, says that his records show that 72.6% of the total contributed dollars to Ferrera, including donations of less than $300, came from Verona residents. The Election Law Enforcement Commission reports do not show addresses or names on contributions of less than $300, so MyVeronaNJ could not independently confirm that.