Former York County Council candidate Ashley Martin has apologized to Roy Blake for suggesting he took campaign money from a Republican, bringing an end to one of the most unusual episodes of the primary season.
Martin said last month in a public forum that Blake, a Democrat, had received donations from fellow County Councilman Curwood Chappell. Because Blake had not reported any such donations on his campaign finance reports, Blake said Martin's comments implied he had committed an ethics violation.
"I have found nothing that would support my statement at the candidates' forum so must conclude that my staff was wrong," Martin wrote in a letter issued through her lawyer, Chris Wellborn. "... I therefore withdraw this statement as not factually based and apologize for any inconvenience or distress this statement may have caused."
Three days after the forum, Blake sued Martin, alleging that she knew the accusation was false and had circulated campaign literature making similar statements. Blake went on to narrowly defeat William "Bump" Roddey in the District 4 Democratic primary runoff.
Martin lost to Chappell in District 5.
"I had no other option but to challenge her with possible legal action," Blake wrote in a statement issued through his attorney, Chad McGowan of Rock Hill. "Today we can bring closure to this sorry episode."
Martin's suggestion infuriated Chappell, who denied ever giving money to Blake.
"I want you to make plain to the public: I've made no contributions to Roy Blake," Chappell told The Herald last month. "Not one red cent. Not one piece of advice. Not one bit."
McGowan said Blake was more interested in having his name cleared than in the $100,000 requested in the lawsuit. The attorney offered to drop the suit if Martin would retract the statements. He got his wish.