Should Mayor Michael Coleman run for re-election and win in 2015, he will be the longest serving mayor in Columbus history. He has not announced his intentions for the 2015 general election at this time and it is far too early for a candidate to file. These tiny details have not stopped Coleman from raising bundles of cash through his campaign committee, Coleman for Columbus. It appears to be a standing committee for a candidate permanently on trail, with records of contributions stretching back nearly as far as the Ohio Secretary of State's website records go. The contributions continued to roll in after Coleman's re-election in 2011. So far in 2013 he's received over $75,000 in contributions, topping his previous year's fund-raising for his unannounced campaign. During three days in late June this year, immediately following his junket to Las Vegas for the annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors, Coleman's treasurer made many trips to the bank. Those three days of handshakes and backslapping seemed to have garnered the mayor over $11,000. A significant portion of these contributions came from firms in the construction industry. Architects, civil engineers, the law firms that represent them and building trade unions seem to love the mayor. 2012 was also a good year in terms of contributions to the mayor's unannounced candidacy. After the general election was over, Coleman still managed to collect $13,500 in just over a month, including a cool $1000 from the architectural firm Moody Nolan. Moody Nolan is the the project architect for the demolition of Poindexter Village and it's rebirth as Poindexter Place. Prior to election day in 2012, the mayor's unannounced campaign was busy cashing checks. Over $36,000 rolled in to the mayor's coffers, including $2,500 from Moody Nolan. Moody Nolan gave Coleman more money after his 2011 re-election bid than it did in the 2011 and 2010 election reporting cycle. Moody Nolan's contract for Poindexter Village nets them over $450,000 out of an $8.7 million total project cost. Moody Nolan is the not only construction related firm to have both contributed to Michael Coleman's unannounced re-election effort while doing business with the city. It is not difficult to see what interest a firm like Gersham Smith and Partners (GSP) would have in the mayor's friendship. The Nashville based firm bills itself as one of the “largest, most discipline-diverse design firms in the United States.” Their modest Columbus office in the PNC bank center completed an environmental audit for the Columbus Department of Public Utilities as well as having over a decade tenure as environmental consultants for Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker Airport and Bolton Field. GSP made contributions to the mayors campaign before and after his re-election. The Michael Coleman mayor for life campaign fund appears to thrive continually regardless of Coleman's intention to continue his tenure in that office. The Free Press will continue to keep a careful eye on the arrival and departure of every dollar and every cent. It is not clear what effect the recent campaign finance ballot initiative put forth by the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government will have on the flow of cash into coffers of incumbent politicians. The initiative will go before City Council, and if rejected, be put forth for a referendum vote in the next general election.

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