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Lynn council candidate fined $4K for late campaign finance reports

BOSTON — Ward 5 City Council candidate Marven Hyppolite has been fined more than $4,000 for failing to file his campaign finance reports on time, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

The 27-year-old challenger, who is making his third bid to unseat Ward 5 City Councilor Dianna Chakoutis, owes $3,575 for late filing his 2018 year-end report which was due in January. He also is responsible for $530 in late fees for his 2017 final report, which was due in January of last year. 

Jason Tait, a OCPF spokesman, said the fines are unpaid and have been referred to a collection agency. The fines cannot be paid from campaign funds, he said.

Hyppolite said the reminder notice to file his 2018 year-end report came in the mail. He had not spent any money on the campaign, but neglected to report that online until he received a phone call. By then, he had missed the deadline. 

It was a similar case for 2017, he said. Hyppolite said his campaign treasurer moved and neither of them were getting the letters until it was too late. 

"There's no excuse, I missed the mail," Hyppolite said. "This was a mistake on my part because I missed those letters, but this wasn't an issue of misappropriating funds or anything."

Hyppolite's bid for City Council has been the subject of some recent controversy. 

He switched his affiliation from a Democrat to unenrolled in June and spoke out against the party's local leadership, saying he left because the Lynn Democratic City Committee was not inclusive and did not make him feel welcome. 

Earlier this month, Richard Jakious, district director for U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton's (D-Mass.) Salem office, sent an email to the Swampscott Democratic Town Committee urging them to attend a fundraiser for Hyppolite, who works as a caseworker for the congressman. The letter was signed by more than a dozen current and former staff.  Despite the help from his office colleagues, Moulton insists he's staying neutral in the Ward 5 race. 

Still, Hyppolite said he still feels good about his chances to win a seat on the council. 

"I still feel like we've gotten the message out there," he said. "We've knocked a lot of doors. A lot of people are ready for change. Hopefully, we get the votes and we win the seat in November." 

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, a nonpartisan grassroots organization who advocate for transparency in government, said campaign finance laws are critically important for the public and they are never optional.

"It's about giving voters timely information we need to decide about who is supporting a particular candidate, how they manage their finances, and whether they are on time," she said. "These are all important information for voters to consider as they make their decisions."

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