, Salem, MA

November 1, 2013

Gould tops in fundraising for Peabody City Council

Bettencourt raises $35,000 in uncontested race


---- — PEABODY — If money is the mother’s milk of politics, then ice cream vendor Tom Gould is the milkman in this year’s councilor-at-large race.

Looking for his second term, Gould, the owner of Treadwell’s, raised more money — nearly $16,500 — this year than any other council candidate in the race. Added to the $10,000 he already had on hand, it left him with the largest campaign kitty, according to campaign finance reports filed this week for the period ending Oct. 28.

Gould’s scores of donors included Mayor Ted Bettencourt, Sheriff Frank Cousins, former Mayor Mike Bonfanti, state Sen. Joan Lovely’s campaign committee, Jacqueline Torigian (wife of former Mayor Peter Torigian) and state Rep. Ted Speliotis, the candidate’s brother-in-law. The top donor was Robert Caldwell of Peabody at $500.

Gould’s funding could be earmarked with future campaigns in mind, including, as some suspect, an effort to unseat state Rep. Leah Cole in 2014.

That’s not unlike the strategy at work in Mayor Bettencourt’s fundraising. He has no opponent in the Nov. 5 election, but that hasn’t stopped him from raising $35,000 this year. Added to what was already in his campaign account, about $12,000, he appears to be on his way to amassing a fund that could discourage challengers in future elections. He spent about $22,000 of that during the year.

Bettencourt reported nearly 300 individual donations, many from well-known Peabody residents, including retired state Sen. Fred Berry and Dick Jarvis, husband of the late state Rep. Joyce Spiliotis. Among the top donors at $500 were former interim school superintendent Herb Levine, accountant Thomas Milbury, Santarpio’s restaurant owner David Modica of Marblehead, and lawyers Christine Smerczynski, Michael Weiss and Robyn Milbury.

There are nine candidates for councilor-at-large, vying for five seats. In addition, three ward council seats are contested, in Wards 2, 3 and 5.

At-large incumbents

Incumbent Councilor-at-large Anne Manning-Martin raised about $5,800 over the past year to add to the $6,700 that she started the year with. She is an experienced campaigner, having served on the School Committee and run two unsuccessful campaigns for state representative. Her largest contributors included lawyer Kim Gale and restaurateur David Modica of Marblehead, both giving $500, and Jaclyn Corriveau at $431. Manning-Martin is also carrying a liability of more than $5,000, money that she loaned to her campaign between 2002 and 2004.

Sitting at-large councilor and former School Committee member Dave Gravel raised $6,700, with about $4,200 unspent to date. The biggest contribution at slightly more than $2,000 is in loans Gravel made to his campaign. Likewise, he is carrying nearly $28,000 in liabilities, loans to an unsuccessful campaign in last winter’s special election for state representative.

Incumbent at-large councilor and former school board member Mike Garabedian reports collecting $4,875 as of Oct. 20. Contributions include $500 from Gennaro Angiulo of G and J Towing in Lynn, $25 from state Rep. Leah Cole and $50 from state Sen. Joan Lovely.

At-large challengers

Tom Walsh, a former councilor,state representative and school board member, amassed $9,674, with roughly $2,502 still unspent. Contributors included Peabody lawyers Jack Keilty, Athan Vonzelides, David Ankeles, Leonard Bonfanti (brother of the former mayor) and former state Rep. John Slattery’s campaign committee. He also scored hundreds in donations from colleagues at the Conway, Cahill, Brodeur Funeral Home where he works.

Challenger Scott Frasca has raised $5,330 and still retained $342 as of Oct. 18. He lists liabilities in excess of $4,000. Donors named Frasca dominate his list, with Nancy Frasca of Peabody and Michael and Patricia of Danvers giving $200. Also contributing $50 was Jacqueline Torigian, wife of the late mayor.

Candidate for at-large councilor Peter Bakula raised $835 as of Oct. 12, with all but $8 spent. The majority of his funds came from family members.

At-large council candidate Russ Donovan reported no money raised and no money spent as of Oct. 26.

At-large council candidate Margaret Tierney, a former library trustee, had not filed a report as of Wednesday afternoon.

Ward 2

Incumbent Ward 2 councilor Arthur Athas collected $2,213 as of Oct. 28 and still has $735 remaining. Opponent Peter McGinn, by contrast, raised $9,921 and still had $4,615 as of Oct. 18.

McGinn, who has not run for office before, lists contributions from former Mayor Mike Bonfanti and numerous family members. McGinn loaned his campaign $3,000 .

Ward 3

Running in Ward 3, Thomas Serino has collected $1,905, with $911 still remaining. Former ward councilor James “Demo” Moutsoulas reported no donations but had spent $600.

Ward 5

In a Ward 5 race between two newcomers, candidate Joel Saslaw tallied $13,597 raised, with $2,343 still on hand and roughly $4,000 in liabilities. His donors include Mayor Ted Bettencourt, former Mayor Mike Bonfanti, state Rep. Leah Cole, retiring Ward 5 Councilor Dave Gamache and lawyer Jack Keilty.

Robert Croce raised $1,324 as of Oct. 21 and spent all but $24. The bulk of the contributions are in loans made by the candidate to the campaign. Dick Jarvis, the husband of the late Rep. Joyce Spiliotis and Croce’s cable television colleague, also contributed.

Alan Burke can be reached at