HAMMOND | The mayor would like a towing firm owner hoisted from the political scene.

"Lefty is a perfect example of what is wrong with politics. What he is doing to me should be investigated by the federal government," Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said Wednesday.

John "Lefty" Nauracy, of East Chicago-based John's Automotive Network, submitted a four-page written complaint and spreadsheet this week to the county elections board claiming 32 businesses gave the McDermott campaign 53 donations between 2008 and 2014, and each was above the legal limit of $2,000 per year for a local government candidate.

Nauracy claims the excess donations represent a combined $50,000 over that seven-year period. He claims the McDermott campaign has reported refunding less than $28,000 of it so far.

Nauracy is demanding the election board fine McDermott's campaign and its donors and recommend the filing of misdemeanor charges against donors who have "recklessly" exceeded the donation limit multiple times.

McDermott, who is running for a fourth term as mayor, said his campaign always refunds excess donations, although not as quickly as he would like.

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"I get huge campaign donations from hundreds of different sources. It's the blessing of having a great active campaign account, but it's hard to track," McDermott said.

"If we find out on Dec. 31 that XYZ Corp. donated $2,400 instead of $2,000, we report the $2,400 on the campaign report, then in the following year, we report the $400 rebate back to the business.

"The way we do this has been approved by the election board. What we probably need to do a better job is to get refunds out in the same year," he said.

Nauracy has filed a series of allegations against the McDermott campaign this spring, only to see the election board dismiss them on grounds there was no evidence of wrongdoing or that the violations he alleged were beyond the three-year statute of limitations.

McDermott said Wednesday, "This guy is not credible. He has been lobbying hard for a (Hammond) towing contract. He didn't get it; now he is one of my biggest enemies."

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Lake County Reporter

Bill has reported in Lake County since 1972 after graduating from Indiana University. He has worked for The Times since 1997, covering the courts and local government during much of his tenure. Born and raised in New Albany, Ind., he is a native Hoosier.