The commercial was shot on the grounds and inside a boardroom at the Madison County Courthouse on July 9. One issue over the commercial is whether the funding and participation of producers from the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee constitute a violation. However, that issue is compounded by whether the producers of the ad had proper written permission to film inside the courthouse.
According to County Administrator Donnie Caughman, the group had permission to shoot on the grounds of the historic courthouse, but not inside.
“They did not have permission to go inside the courthouse,” Caughman said. “They did not mention that.”
Jim Mabus with the Musgrove campaign coordinated the ad with the Canton Film Office, which in turn facilitated use of the Madison County Courthouse grounds through County Administrator Donnie Caughman. Executive Director Jo Ann Gordon with the Canton Film Office said that her group dealt only with Mabus and had no contact with any other group.
Mabus did not return two calls requesting comment for this story.
Caughman said that Canton Film Office Executive Director Jo Ann Gordon came to him with the request for the Ronnie Musgrove Campaign.
“Mrs. Gordon came to me and she showed me that they had proof of insurance, which we don’t normally require because we have liability coverage,” he said. “They wanted to film a commercial on the historic courthouse grounds.
“All she said was that it was the Ronnie Musgrove campaign,” he added.
Gordon said that the permission was in writing and that anything arranged in the courthouse was between the producers and other individuals.
“Our office only got permission to use the Madison County Courthouse grounds,” said Gordon. “We expressly discussed with them and I have it in writing that anything they did with anybody individually they had to get written permission.