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Allen, who is one of four candidates to become Fitchburg mayor, was cited by the Dane County Sheriff's Department July 24, 2014. That was four months after News 3 reported that Allen owed a Madison business roughly $2,200 for a 2013 mayoral campaign flier. He had signed an affidavit with the Fitchburg city clerk stating that he would not spend more than $1,000 on the race.
Dane County court records show Allen did not appear in court in August to address the accusation, at which point the court issued him a $389.50 fine. In December Allen had still not paid the fine, so it was sent to a collections agency.
"I vaguely remember this happening," Allen said. "I don't recall hearing about a court date. It was months ago. I thought the fine had already been paid."
Allen said he tried to pay the fine Friday, but was told he had to go to the collections agency to settle his debt since it had already been turned over. Allen said he would try again next week to settle his debt with the court.
His outstanding debt with First Class Mailers in Madison was paid by an anonymous donor. First Class Mailers owner Duane McGowan, who had a bounced check from Allen as proof of the expense he incurred, spoke with a sheriff's deputy as part of the investigation. He says politics is generally not good for business, but he had some advice for Fitchburg residents.
"If I lived in Fitchburg, I'd definitely do a little research on the candidates," McGowan said. "If (Jay Allen) can't balance his own checkbook, how can he balance Fitchburg's."
Allen, who is running against the incumbent Shawn Pfaff, Fitchburg Alder Steve Arnold and Janell Rice in the Feb. 17 primary, said McGowan's criticism is unfair, even though court records show Allen owing thousands of dollars to other creditors.
"I was an elected official for 20 years and the city ran just fine," he said.
Allen was defeated in 2011 by Pfaff after serving one term as mayor.
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