Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams suspends campaign

Thursday, May 15, 2014 5:01 PM
Last updated Friday, May 16, 2014 1:11 AM
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Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams suspended her mayoral campaign Thursday amid reports of debts unpaid for years and other financial difficulties.

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Mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams (right) announces that she is suspending her campaign.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams (right) announces that she is suspending her campaign.

“These last few days have been hard and humiliating,” she said, reading from a prepared statement during a news conference at her Eighth Street campaign headquarters. “It has shown me that I have to work on me and especially my financial challenges. I take full responsibility for the debt and for my mistakes.”

Flanked by members of her campaign team, Blocker-Adams spoke for less than two minutes, grew tearful then walked out and drove away.

Despite the announcement, Blocker-Adams did not file the formal affidavit necessary to remove herself from the election Thursday, Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said.

If she does, the office will post notices at all polling places that votes cast for Blocker-Adams won’t count, and all votes for her – including any of nearly 5,000 cast early as of Thursday – will be considered null and void. Without the formal withdrawal, however, the votes would remain viable.

At the news conference, Blocker-Adams and her campaign manager, Pam Wilkins, said no one besides Blocker-Adams was aware of the debts, three court judgments exceeding $70,000 from Aiken County that dated back to the 1990s. Tuesday, Blocker-Adams said a lack of recent correspondence from creditors led her to believe she’d paid them off.

“I failed to let my campaign team and family know about any of the personal financial details in my life and I regret that. If my executive team knew what they know now, they would have advised me not to run for mayor,” she said Thursday.

“I have always been an independent person and felt I could get things done by myself. As a woman who knows and loves the Lord, I realize that is pride and he has revealed that to me over the past few days,” she said.

After attempting to explain the unpaid debts as typical for most Augustans, and arising from a dark period of her life when she’d gotten divorced, had a miscarriage and been saddled with a bad loan, on Wednesday more reports surfaced of Blocker-Adams being served more than 40 times with eviction or dispossessory notices between 2007 and 2013.

Blocker-Adams offered no further explanation other than her comments at the news conference.

“I know I have let many people down and I am deeply sorry for that. I ask for your forgiveness,” she said. “The love and support from this community has been overwhelming. Effective immediately, I am suspending my campaign and run for mayor.”

Wilkins called Blocker-Adams her “sister in Christ” and said the campaign team would have stood by her regardless of Blocker-Adams’ decision.

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Dixieman
23036
Points
Dixieman 05/16/14 - 05:04 am
10
1
Class act

It was classy of her to withdraw so promptly and so gracefully, and I give her a lot of credit for her words and conduct in the last few days. Far better than what most politicians would have done.

avidreader
4104
Points
avidreader 05/16/14 - 05:11 am
9
1
Miffed!

I can understand the $70 grand from the nineties -- a dark time -- but what's up with not paying rent? I think this woman's problems run much deeper than the public knows. And by the way, I also have skeletons in my closet and would never attempt a run for mayor. HBA should have considered her probable fate before signing on to run. It's the rent thing that bothers me.

RedQuinoa
4869
Points
RedQuinoa 05/16/14 - 10:50 am
2
3
Hope

(This is a sort of re-post, becausae I thought last night's post had been rejected. I apologize.)

She is a seemingly very nice lady and there's no doubt that she's accomplished much for the Augusta community in the past; I'm hopeful she will be able to do even more in the future. To be effective in such a role does not require the title of Mayor.

God redeems those who humble themselves and seek Him. She has asked for forgiveness and done the right thing by stepping aside to address her specific problems.

Best wishes to you HBA as you work to recover from this setback and return to your vital role - so often negelcted by other who think they're above it - as a true advocate for the people of Augusta. Don't let the cruel comments of others hurt you.

obkad
235
Points
obkad 05/16/14 - 07:28 am
2
5
so sad

I have to ask the question, why wasn't this brought up 8 years ago. Answer is simple, Helen was not a factor then. Now she is the front runner, bingo it shows up. Seems the "IN" group has done their job very well. Thank you Austin, Billy, Steven Kendrick, and the others for destroying the person who presented the threat. Look at Alvin Mason, (arrested for abuse), Grady Smith (Conflict of interest), King Marion Williams, (back taxes, and racetrack issues) and all seem to have deflected everything. Crooks, abusers and cheaters, all still there. Look at what they did. Has anyone dared to investigate who is behind the 8 million given to the Bethlehem Center.. No one wants to touch that with a ten foot pole. My vote stays with Helen, she has screwed up but remember the phrases.. "I did not inhale, I did not have sex with that woman, and I have no idea where those FBI files came from" Helen is still my pick..

AFjoe
14718
Points
AFjoe 05/16/14 - 07:37 am
8
2
AC=F

The final grade is in on the Chronicle. "F"
Next time make sure your reporters don't skip school the day investigative reporting is covered.

Little Lamb
56842
Points
Little Lamb 05/16/14 - 08:29 am
2
5
Lifeboat

Too bad. If she had won the mayor's position, she would have had a salary way higher than ever before in her life, and could have paid off the debts easily.

redfish
1660
Points
redfish 05/16/14 - 08:37 am
7
2
Time to be truly responsible...

It's time for Helen to be truly responsible and withdraw from the race. To "suspend" her campaign merely means she is going to stop working to get elected but will take the job if she manages to get a majority of the votes. Assuming the period 2007-2013 is six full years, there are only 72 months during that period. If she had over 40 eviction or warrants taken out in that time, she was averaging not paying her rent more than one out of every two months. Real courage and responsibility on Helen's part would be to drop out of the race.

Sean Moores
341
Points
Sean Moores 05/16/14 - 08:40 am
1
1
Still having problems with our comments

If your comments are not posting immediately, it is because of technical problems on our web site causing many comments to be held for review. I am reposting them as soon as possible, but there will be some delays until they get this fixed. Bear with us.

b1
558
Points
b1 05/16/14 - 08:43 am
6
2
Pay your bill!

All these posts about how proud you are of her for doing the right thing...let's see if she truly means it and PAYS HER BILLS!

raul
7971
Points
raul 05/16/14 - 09:38 am
5
1
Maybe HBA needs to consider a

Maybe HBA needs to consider a career change. Obviously what she has been doing for a living the last several years hasn't produced the income she needs to be financially solvent. Maybe some of her supporters would like to offer her a job?

rwb345
13
Points
rwb345 05/16/14 - 10:57 am
0
3
HBA

I am very disappointed in HBA . How could she think that she could have gotten away with this ruse. I and many others were thinking that she could bring a needed change to Augusta politics. I hope she can get tese problems behind her and return again much stronger.

Darby
39543
Points
Darby 05/16/14 - 11:12 am
1
4
"I failed to let my campaign team and family

know about any of the personal financial details in my life and I regret that."

.
Helen, that was just a vapid and irresponsible decision on your part. I voted for you and given what I believe to be your intellect and potential, I don't regret the vote even though it was wasted.

Now that you have accepted the reality of the situation, I hope you move on but continue to work as a conscientious citizen to make Augusta a better place to live.

You don't need to hold elective office to do so, and judging from my own observations, you might well be able to affect more change and improvement from outside the morass that is our local political Gordian knot.

peace4784
175
Points
peace4784 05/16/14 - 11:22 am
1
0
Everyone has a past. What I
Unpublished

Everyone has a past. What I find is repugnant is the motive behind the timing of this campaign to smear Helen Blocker-Adams and her so-called friend Austin Rhodes. The people who have the most to gain by smearing HBA are bottom feeders who operate in the dark like cockroaches. Worse still are those backstabbers who have called HBA a friend. True friends don't side with the attackers when their friend is under assault. Austin Rhodes called Helen a close friend, yet he was more than willing to pile on when Helen was under attack. He gladly threw fuel on the file. He was a sleeper cell friend. Austin and the good old boys did not want to see a female mayor and Helen was getting too close for their comfort. With Austin as a friend you don't need an enemy. Austin is like the woman who betrayed Donald Sterling. Like Jerry Springer, Austin will do anything to keep his radio ratings high. Everyone in his narrow mind is expendable.

Willow Bailey
20619
Points
Willow Bailey 05/16/14 - 11:28 am
1
5
My thoughts, exactly Raul.

My thoughts, exactly Raul. Praying for Helen that someone steps forward with a good job offer for her so her talents and compassion for others will be put to great use for Augusta.

I do believe she's the only local political candidate that I have ever seen own her mistakes. Again, blessings on her!

scarlet
8
Points
scarlet 05/16/14 - 12:45 pm
6
0
Glad this came out now

Although I certainly feel sorry for her, I feel sorrier for those she owed a great deal of money to (as well as those who promoted her and were kept in the dark). She seems like a very nice lady who has made multiple serious errors in judgement. If she really cares about Augusta, she should withdraw from the race completely and pay her debts. Do we really want someone managing our city who cannot manage their own household?

Riverman1
120735
Points
Riverman1 05/16/14 - 12:45 pm
4
2
She's Still In

The reality of her announcement is that she is still in the race. It's also possible some reverse psychology will be at work here and she will gain voters.

Conservative Man
5682
Points
Conservative Man 05/16/14 - 02:57 pm
1
0
I am of two different minds on this one….

….On the one hand, knowing Helen is a well-intenioned civic-minded lady, I feel her public humiliation has probably ruined her political career, which is a shame for Augusta as she obviously cares for the betterment of the community as a whole..

BUT, on the other hand I question the integrity of someone who did not make just ONE mistake that could be easily reasoned away….This is someone who made a series of "mistakes" calculated or otherwise, over a period of many years..THAT behavior us much harder to explain away..

As someone who has helped run a very high profile campaign recently, I uniquely understand that politics is a "blood sport" and anyone with ANY kind of skeleton in their closet should bring it out before the opposition does or stay out of the race. Because as we've seen in this instance, your sins WILL find you out….

Riverman1
120735
Points
Riverman1 05/16/14 - 03:49 pm
2
0
Definition of Suspend

What's the definition of suspend?

shrimp for breakfast
5783
Points
shrimp for breakfast 05/16/14 - 04:08 pm
0
2
Big Deal

So she has financial problems. So what. Who hasn't? Shouldn't affect her running for Mayor.
Small potatoes compared to the actions of some of our politicians.
We want someone running for office who is perfect. Well that aint realistic. It should be the best person for the job. I don't know if she tried to hide the fact she was in debt but I feel she has been punished for her bad financial time.
You see I just found out yesterday from our beloved government that I owe $1500 on a student loan that I thought was paid back in 1991. They say it wasn't and I can't prove them wrong. Not after 23 years.
My point is that just maybe she's telling the truth.
Personally I don't care who wins the Mayor's race. It's not like they have any power.
I ain't from around these parts and never did understand why Augusta even needs a Mayor.

itsanotherday1
58387
Points
itsanotherday1 05/16/14 - 05:16 pm
0
1
What is worse, a mayor who

What is worse, a mayor who has a bad financial history, or a senator committing vehicular homicide?

Lee Benedict
1717
Points
Lee Benedict 05/16/14 - 05:27 pm
1
0
Riverman,

when one "suspends" his/her campaign, s/he may legally continue to accept campaign contributions in order to pay off campaign debt(s). Ergo, the term "suspend" is used...means the same thing as "withdraw", "drop out", "cancel", "quit", and a host of others. Thanks to legal mumbo jumbo, the term "suspend" has become the norm when one calls in the dog and pees on the fire of a campaign.

Darby
39543
Points
Darby 05/16/14 - 09:42 pm
2
0
"What is worse, a mayor

who has a bad financial history, or a senator committing vehicular homicide?"

.
Are we still bad mouthing Teddy this long after he has gone to be with Mary Jo?

That seems a bit harsh, even for a far right wing extremist such as myself.

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