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AG: York Building Products execs made illegal political contributions

David Weissman
717-505-5431/@DispatchDavid
York Building Products

Authorities allege the head of York Building Products was having his company's executives make political campaign contributions in their own names with the company reimbursing them, according to charging documents  filed by the state Attorney General's office.

Two separate charges were filed on Dec. 21, one against the company and another against David James Stewart, the CEO of The Stewart Companies, which owns York Building Companies. Both companies are headquartered at 950 Smile Way in York City.

Stewart and other company employees did not respond to requests for comment.

According to state political finance laws, it is illegal for any corporation, except those formed primarily for political purposes, to make a contribution in connection with the election of any candidate or for any political purpose.

According to charging documents, a former York Building Products employee sent a complaint to the Attorney General's office in late 2013 regarding an Elections Code Violation.

The former employee alleged that the company's executives would write personal checks for political campaign contributions and submit copies of the checks to Payroll/Human Resources of The Stewart Companies for reimbursement. The reimbursement would be "grossed up" for tax and profit sharing purposes to completely match the political contributions, and the amount would be entered into payroll as "Bonus," according to the employee.

During its investigation, the Attorney General's office was able to reinforce the employee's allegations by comparing payroll records and the dates of campaign contributions made by the executives, according to charging documents.

Investigators found copies of personal checks made "To The Order Of" particular election campaigns included in the company's payroll records, including some instances in which the check would read "Pls submit for reimbursement." A majority of the copies of checks also included an attachment that showed the amount of contribution with the percentage for "Gross up Wage," according to the AG's office.

The total contributions made by Stewart Company executives from Jan. 2014 through Nov. 2015 to various state, federal and York County elections totaled $94,530, according to charging documents.

Jeff Johnson, a spokesman for the AG's office would not provide further information regarding who received the contributions and said the information in the public charging documents is all the office will release at this time.

Stewart's personal contributions totaled $31,850, according to charging documents.

Stewart has contributed $5,250 to a committee supporting election efforts of Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, since 2012, according to Federal Election Commission records. He has also contributed to committees supporting former Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, Commissioner Chris Reilly, R-York County, Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, Judge Todd Platts, R-York County, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., according to records.

Charging documents list Joseph Curcillo as Stewart's and the company's attorney, but Curcillo could not be reached for comment.

Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com.