Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on October 7, 2012
In the final month of campaigning, the race to see who will succeed Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is heating up. But it seems that one candidate isn’t being exactly truthful in his advertising.
Throughout his campaign, Salt Lake County Mayoral candidate Mark Crockett has repeatedly made the claim that he is the most qualified candidate to handle the County’s billion dollar budget. Largely, he says this is due to his financial experience operating his consulting firms Alta Ventures and Vici Capital and supposedly saving organizations like Bank of America and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources millions of dollars.
“Crockett said his approach to supervising a government follows guidelines he employs professionally as managing director of Vici Capital Partners, a consulting firm that helps giant corporations (including Bank of America) and government agencies (such as the Colorado Department of Natural Resources) to operate efficiently.” - Salt Lake Tribune, 6/4/12
I have been fortunate to help some amazing organizations solve some interesting problems and I still do. So, with my family in NY for a little while as I help drive an overhaul of Bank of America, this may not seem the most convenient time to run for mayor.” - Mark Crockett for County Mayor campaign announcement, 01/10/2012
But something new stuck out to me this month. Mr. Crockett has sent out a printed flyer, featuring those companies’ logos, to Salt Lake County residents; implying their endorsement in an attempt to persuade votes.
Trouble is… none of these companies are actually endorsing Mark Crockett’s campaign, nor have they authorized him to use their copywritten brands.
PRIDEinUtah contacted each of the companies featured on Mr. Crockett’s campaign material, asking if they have endorsed Mark Crockett. Here are the responses we received:
“We don’t provide our logo for political purposes, and we definitely haven’t provided any endorsements. We really don’t want to comment on what type of involvement we may or may not have had with [Crockett].” - Bank of America
“We have definitely not made any endorsement in the race for Salt Lake County Mayor, nor has Mr. Crockett contacted us for permission to use our logo. Honestly, we’re really not comfortable hearing that our logo is being used for a political race.” - Colorado Department of Natural Resources
In addition, after my initial call with Bank of America this week I received a return call the following day, letting me know that they were trying to contact the Crockett Campaign to discuss why their name is being used for political purposes. As of the time of this posting, the Crockett Campaign had not returned their calls.
In addition to whether or not these organizations have either officially or unofficially endorsed Mr. Crockett, I also asked if they could validate his claims that he (and/or his consulting firms) really did save them the millions of dollars he claims. Almost without exception, the answer was “No Comment.”
The one exception was Synovus, who’s bewildered Communications Director told me:
Placing company logos on your campaign material is a hallmark of official campaign endorsements. So while we have no doubt that the Crockett Campaign will offer an excuse that because they aren’t specifically using the words “endorse” on these flyers there isn’t a problem, the message being conveyed to potential voters (who perhaps don’t have quite the political eye to catch underhanded techniques) is clear.
And with the statement given to PRIDEinUtah by Synovus – one does have to wonder about the accuracy of Mr. Crockett’s money saving-claims with the other organizations as well.