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Marketing firm sues Barnhart over unpaid Assembly campaign bill

Rachel Barnhart, a candidate for the upcoming Rochester mayoral race, is being sued by a marketing company over unpaid bills related to her previous campaign. (Photo: Barnhart campaign)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Rachel Barnhart, a candidate for the upcoming Rochester mayoral race, is being sued by a marketing company over unpaid bills related to her previous campaign.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday morning, lists Growth Marketing Group of NY, LLC. as the plaintiff. Growth Marketing Group is owned by Arnie Rothschild.

The lawsuit seeks $4,918.32 in relation to Barnhart's previous run for New York State Assembly last fall. Barnhart ran against incumbent Harry Bronson in the Democratic primary for the 138th NYS Assembly seat and lost.

According to paperwork, the group filed an invoice on August 23, 2016 for a package of 9,000 mailers that were scheduled to go out. The suit alleges the group never received payment for those mailers.

“I have no desire to get into the middle of the politics of the moment," said Rothschild in a statement. "This is simply an attempt for us to collect money that we have been owed for a year.”

Barnhart issued this statement in response:

"I haven't seen a lawsuit. Arnie Rothschild knows Lovely Warren might be his only ticket to a new performing arts center. He's so desperate, he is willing to sue someone who was once like a daughter to him. This lawsuit over a disputed mailing services bill dates back many months. But he chose now to file a lawsuit. The reason is obvious and political, and says more about the kind of people Warren and Rothschild are than it does about me."

Representatives from Mayor Lovely Warren's reelection campaign replied to the news with the following statement:

"Mayor Lovely Warren remains focused on her record of creating more jobs, safer neighborhoods, and better schools for the people of Rochester. We can not comment on Ms. Barnhart's current legal problems as we have no knowledge of them other than through media reports. In the mean time, Mayor Warren will continue to run a positive campaign focused on the issues that matter most to our neighbors .

Candidate James Sheppard responded that the bill should be paid, and it's "disingenuous" to not pay for bills before disputing others.

Rothschild, chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, worked on Mayor Lovely Warren's campaign four years ago, and Warren is now supporting his quest to get a performing arts center built at the former Midtown site. He also worked on Barnhart's Assembly campaign last year, but Barnhart has been an opponent of that downtown site for a theater.

As the race takes shape, Mayor Lovely Warren's sitting on more than $300,135.32 in her campaign war chest.

Sheppard has been among those questioning donations and transfers between the mayor's campaign account and a political action committee. He has nearly $86,988.05 in his account for the final three week push for Democratic support.

"Donations are important, and I think they are important for a number of reasons: One, if you cannot raise funds that's telling you, you are not a viable candidate. Two, in order to communicate with the voters, you need to communicate and send out mailers and have money to do the commercials," he said.

Barnhart boasts about $12,000 in her campaign war chest.

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