State’s Attorney Candidate, Printer Spar Over ’06 Debt

BERLIN – A small claims
court lawsuit charging that Worcester County State’s Attorney candidate Beau
Oglesby has not paid $5,700 in bills from his last campaign could pose big
trouble for the candidate this election season as he challenges incumbent
State’s Attorney Joel Todd.

Thom Gulyas, who owns
Ace Printing and Mailing in Berlin, filed a lawsuit in small claims court last
week over the $5,700 Oglesby owes his business from the 2006 state’s attorney
campaign.

Oglesby’s claims
printing and mailing work done on his 2006 campaign by Ace Printing and Mailing
was actually an in-kind campaign donation.

“Thom and [wife] Belinda
made a generous donation to my campaign, and I was shocked to learn that a year
later he was asking for his donation back, in effect,” said Oglesby in a
statement. “Despite our prior agreement which created no legal obligation to
replay the additional money, I decided that I would refund his donation from my
new account as soon as it became active.”

Gulyas said that’s
untrue.

“If anyone’s going to
have a $6,000 campaign contribution from me, I’m going to give it to my mother
first,” said Gulyas, son of Worcester County Commissioner Louise Gulyas.

Maryland state campaign
finance records filed by Oglesby show that in 2006 Oglesby reported donations
from Gulyas, the $4,000 maximum donation, and $2,000 from Thom’s wife, Belinda,
for in-kind services, on Nov. 4, 2006.

Gulyas supported Oglesby
in the 2006 campaign, but says he never donated services or money to the
candidate.

Further, Gulyas said,
his wife Belinda is not legally part of Ace Printing and Mailing and has no
authority to make donations on the company’s behalf.

In a statement released
this week, Oglesby, who acknowledges not having seen the lawsuit, contends
that, in 2006, “Gulyas insisted on expanding the coverage of the mailing,
agreeing that the estimated $6,000 in additional printing and mailing cost
would be viewed as a campaign contribution from his wife and him.”

Oglesby also contends
that Gulyas did not ask for a payment on the printing services provided until a
year after the election.

Statements have been
sent out on the debt every month since December 2006, Gulyas said, which
contradicts Oglesby’s claim that Gulyas made the donation and only began asking
for payment a year after the election.

“I didn’t wait a year to
get back to him,” Gulyas said.

Gulyas has had several
conversations with Oglesby over the last four years regarding the debt, he said,
and was told numerous times that Oglesby would pay for the work.

At one time, Gulyas
said, he had to track Oglesby down through the Internet to where he was working
in Rockville, Md., in order to contact him about paying the long outstanding
debt.

During the last
conversation he had with Oglesby on the matter, on May 18, Gulyas gave him an
ultimatum – he had 90 days to make full restitution or Gulyas would take the
matter to small claims court.

Gulyas then received a
check from Oglesby in July 2010 for $2,000, but has received no further
payments, he said.

Gulyas filed a claim in
small claims court on Aug. 19, seeking the $5,700 that he says Oglesby has owed
him for the last four years.

On why he waited four
years to file a claim, Gulyas said, “He kept promising me he was going to pay
me.”

The claim reads, in
part, “Defendant Oglesby breached the parties’ contract by failing and refusing
to pay for the printing and mailing services as promised.”

The claim also states,
“Defendant has acknowledged his contractual duty to pay plaintiff for the
printing and mailing services rendered to him.”

The trial date has been
set for Oct. 27, the Wednesday before the general election, which will be held
on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Oglesby charges that
politics, not money, is the motivating factor in the lawsuit.

“Now that Thom has
publicly endorsed my opponent, the timing of this frivolous lawsuit just two
months before the election, a lawsuit he knows is barred by the statute of
limitations, speaks for itself,” Oglesby wrote in the statement.

The lawsuit is not
politically motivated, Gulyas said.

“We’re both Republicans.
It can’t be political,” said Gulyas. “I strongly believe law enforcement is
non-partisan. It is for the best man or woman to hold that position.”

Gulyas acknowledged that
he has switched his support to incumbent Todd in this year’s election.

“This is all about
business and all about someone paying their bills. I’ve got to pay mine. People
have to pay theirs. He should pay his,” Gulyas said.

Oglesby contends the
lawsuit has little merit, vowing to focus on his campaign bid to unseat Todd,
who he lost to by 14 votes in 2006. It was an election that drew out weeks
after the polls closed in November with provisional and overseas ballots
deciding the eventual victor.

“When all of the facts
are made known, I believe the lawsuit will be dismissed whenever it goes to
court. In the meantime, I will continue to focus my campaign in a positive
direction,” Oglesby said.

Gulyas feels the
paperwork trail will prove his case.

“I didn’t want it to go
this way. I’m not here to ruin anybody. I just want to be paid,” said Gulyas.

                 

 

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