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Big names highlight Setti Warren's list of donors

Posted by Leslie Anderson  July 20, 2011 05:04 PM

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Newton Mayor Setti Warren received donations from some well-known Democratic donors in support of his bid to unseat US Senator Scott Brown, according to his first quarterly financial report, filed July 18 with the Federal Election Commission.

The report also shows that Warren, who launched his campaign in early May, has raised $124,000, but is almost $23,000 in the red.

Big names include Vernon Jordan, a civil rights leader who advised President Bill Clinton; Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree; and Jack M. Connors Jr., a fund-raiser for president Obama and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Partners HealthCare.

Although US Senator John Kerry has declined to endorse anyone from the crowded primary field, some Kerry’s staffers made contributions to Warren’s campaign. Warren, a first-term mayor, worked as an aide to Kerry.

Those donations included $100 from Patricia M. Ferrone, listed as Kerry's personal assistant; and $100 from Katherine L. Garland, Kerry's national finance director;

Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz, managing director of Rosemont Solebury Capital Management, a New York-based firm, gave $2,500, the maximum for an individual in any one election.

The largest donor was Mike Offner of Brookline, who works as an investment manager for Greenlight Capital Inc. He gave $5,000, half for the primary and half for the general election, the maximum. Offner and Warren went to Newton North High School together.

Ralph Martin, senior vice president and general counsel to Northeastern University, donated $2,500. And David J. Morehouse, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins, gave $500. Ralph de la Torre, president and CEO of Caritas Christi, gave $2,400.

Warren’s campaign raised $124,236, according to the federal filings, during the period May 3 to June 30. He returned $125 worth of donations, $25 to Linda Dubuque, deputy treasurer and collector for Newton and $100 to Howard Haywood, one of the co-chairmen of his mayoral campaign.

“Anything with the appearance of impropriety we returned, out of an abundance of caution,” said Chuck Gilboy, a spokesman for Warren’s campaign.

The link to Haywood prompted the Massachusetts Republican Party to file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against Warren earlier this month. The MassGOP alleges that Warren violated the state conflict of interest law when he announced he would award a contract to Kleinfelder/SEA Consultants SEA, which employs Haywood.

Warren chose Kleinfelder for the approximately $500,000 contract to evaluate municipal buildings over another company VFA, whose president and CEO claimed that the mayor inappropriately passed over VFA.

Warren has denied any wrongdoing.

The campaign did not return contributions from a Newton teacher and a Newton librarian, who gave $200 and $100, respectively. When asked why one city employee’s donation was returned while those two were not, Gilboy said neither donor works at City Hall.

In the federal filing, the Globe counted 372 individual contributions, not including the two returned donations or Warren’s two contributions, totaling $100, to his own campaign. Some donors contributed more than once, bringing the total number of donors below 372.

Of the 372 donations, about 266, or 72 percent, came from Massachusetts, and about 80, or 22 percent, came from Newton.

“We do have a strong level of support in the mayor’s hometown,” said Gilboy.

The only labor organization listed was the Carpenters Union Local 275, which gave $500 to Warren's campaign.

Of the more than $124,000 raised, Warren had $54,736 left in the bank at the end of the reporting period. But he owes $77,513, so his campaign is almost $23,000 under water.

By contrast, Democrat Alan Khazei had $634,605 in the bank as of June 30; Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown had $9.6 million.

“I would obviously disagree that we’re not off to a good start,” Gilboy told the Globe earlier today. “We’re off to a strong start here, for a first-time statewide candidate.”

Lisa Kocian can be reached at

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