DENVER (CBS4) – A candidate for the Denver School Board has paid current school board member Tay Anderson $5,000 since August to act as a “consultant” to his campaign.

Campaign expenditure records obtained by CBS4 show Scott Esserman, who is running for an at-large school board seat, had paid a company named “Good Trouble Consulting” $1,000 every two weeks since mid-August for “Consultant and Professional Services.”

Records with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office show Tay Anderson filed documents with the Secretary of State on Aug. 18 to establish Good Trouble Consulting, although Esserman’s campaign expenditures show his first payment of $1,000 to Anderson’s company was three days earlier, on Aug. 15.

Reached by CBS4 Thursday night, Anderson said Esserman was paying him for social media and digital services including designing Esserman’s campaign website.

Tay Anderson at a DPS board meeting in September. (credit: CBS)

Anderson said prior to entering the relationship with Esserman, he consulted with attorneys for Denver Public Schools who told him what he planned was not a conflict of interest and complied with guidelines for school board members. But DPS spokesman Will Jones says “Anderson did not consult with district attorneys before entering into a relationship with Scott Esserman.”

Anderson told CBS4 Esserman was currently his only client but he hoped to grow his company into a thriving business.

Hashim Coates, Esserman’s campaign manager, told CBS4, “There is no established ethics code or law that Mr. Anderson or Mr. Esserman is violating. It is common practice that elected officials can, and often do to supplement income, participate in campaign work to help candidates and initiatives they believe in.”

Coates went on to say, “There are plenty of active elected officials at all levels of government who take paid consulting gigs — or even run campaigns — to elect candidates they believe in. Especially candidates who may serve alongside them in the same elected body.”

Scott Esserman (credit: esserman4denverkids.com)

Asked if he was endorsing Esserman, Anderson said he was “supporting” Esserman’s candidacy since Esserman had the backing of multiple labor unions, but he said he had not specifically endorsed him.

Five candidates are seeking the single at-large seat and the election is Nov. 2.

Brian Maass