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Nine of the 36 Chattanooga City Council and mayoral candidates running for election on March 2 still have not filed end-of-year financial disclosures.

End-of-year financial disclosures detailing campaign contributions, loans, expenditures and cash on hand were due to the Hamilton County Election Commission on Feb. 1.

In the mayoral race, four of the 15 candidates have not filed their financial reports.

Among the mayoral candidates late to file are sitting District 5 Councilman Russell Gilbert and former NAACP chapter president Elenora Woods, both of whom have a number of large campaign signs posted around town but no disclosures filed to date.

"I got in the race kind of late in October and I didn't really start fundraising until late January," Woods explained Tuesday when asked. "When I first started the campaign I was just asking people to give me their vote, most people in the marginalized community don't have a lot of money."

Gilbert reported spending around $2,300 on campaign materials between Jan. 16 and June 30, 2020, which are listed under his candidacy for District 5 council, despite announcing his candidacy for mayor publicly on Feb. 10, 2020.

Gilbert did not establish his mayoral candidacy with the Election Commission by naming a treasurer until October 2020, and has not filed any disclosures as a mayoral candidate yet. He declined to comment for this story.

Candidates Christopher Dahl and George Ryan Love also have not filed, but both said they have spent around $100 out of pocket and have not received donations but will try to file.

Candidate Monty Bell hung up during a phone request for comment on this story.

In the seven contested council races, another four candidates have missed the deadline.

Three of the five District 5 candidates, who are vying for Gilbert's open seat, had not filed their financial information as of Tuesday.

Cynthia Stanley-Cash and Leanne Jones both said they had not filed their disclosures due to a lack of fundraising and spending.

"I really am self-financing with small donations from my neighbors and friends," Cash said Tuesday. "Due to the coronavirus I'm really doing it on the shoestring budget."

Dennis Milton Clark, another District 5 candidate, said he will file this week after an unspecified clerical error.

"I apologize for this oversight. We are correcting a bookkeeping error. All of our financial reports will be updated in the next 24 hours," Clark said Tuesday.

District 8 candidate D'Andre Anderson also had not filed financial disclosures, but told the Times Free Press on Tuesday he was working to do so after his treasurer left the campaign.

Anderson, Cash, Clark, Dahl, Gilbert and Love all have run for office in the past.

According to the Election Commission, all of the candidates running in the two municipal elections were subject to the most recent deadline and those who are not up to date by the next filing deadline could face significant fines.

"All candidates who have appointed a treasurer are required to meet the filing deadlines regardless of what money they have received or spent," Administrator of Elections Scott Allen said in an emailed statement Tuesday.

"There is a pre-election report due on Feb. 23 and if we do not have the first filing report by then we will send a certified letter giving the candidate 5 days to comply before we send their information to the Registry of Election Finance."

That timeline would result in candidates being reported to the registry just two days before the March 2 election.

According to Allen, the Registry of Election Finance has the authority to impose civil penalties on a candidate for failing to file a statement on time and ignoring subsequent warnings about the required report.

Under Tennessee code, the penalties could result in fees of $25 per day late up to $750 for delinquent paperwork.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

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