Campaign disclosures reveal developer funded recall campaign against Baltic mayor
Finance report confirms Brian Hefty’s involvement in attempt to remove Deborah McIsaac from office
A developer who had been struggling to permit a Baltic housing project financed efforts to ouster the city’s mayor last year.
Campaign finance reports filed this week show South Dakotans for Transparent Government, a political action committee behind an unsuccessful recall election of Mayor Deborah McIsaac in September, was funded by Grant Park Capital Owner Brian Hefty and others with ties to the Baltic-area entrepreneur who’d been embroiled in lawsuits and code enforcement disputes with City Hall.
According to an 8-page filing certified by the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office Monday, Hefty along with his wife and an employee of Hefty’s Ag-PhD media program are each listed as contributing $10,000 to the political action committee, formed as a residential development in Baltic was hitting numerous permitting and environmental regulatory snags.
South Dakotans for Transparent Government received no contributions from Baltic residents, which were subjected to a barrage of political advertising in the lead up to the election accusing McIsaac of being corrupt and against city development. City Hall characterized the criticisms as a political smear campaign.
During the months-long campaign, neither Hefty nor the campaign committee acknowledged a connection between the two, though the link was widely speculated in the media and among McIsaac and her allies.
Baltic voters rejected the recall by a 20 percent margin.