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Published October 08 2012

Fargo stations pull political ad tied to Berg-Goldmark claims

FARGO – Local television stations are pulling an ad attacking U.S. Senate candidate Rick Berg for his ties to Goldmark Property Management amid concerns about its accuracy.

The ad, titled “Facts,” debuted last week. It seeks to link Berg to complaints against the property management company.

Berg has staunchly denied involvement with the company. Heidi Heitkamp, his opponent, has in turn challenged those denials.

Chris Van Guilder, a Berg spokesman, said in a statement Monday that WDAY and Valley News Live are pulling the ad.

Jim Wareham, president and general manager of Valley News Live, said the station decided to pull the ad after an attorney said there was some merit to complaints lodged by the Berg campaign.

He said the concerns centered on claims made about Berg’s real estate license. The ad shows an image of the license that says Berg was affiliated with Goldmark Property Management.

Wareham said the group behind the ad, the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, plans to amend it and put it back on the air. The group is also running another unrelated ad that will stay on the air.

The group, a national political action committee that supports, is not affiliated with Heitkamp. But it has been one of the dominant advertising forces in this race, along with its Republican counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The two groups have poured millions each into the race, far outspending the candidates themselves.

The DSCC couldn’t be reached immediately for comment Monday night.

Berg originally sparred with Heitkamp over a September radio ad that linked him to complaints against Goldmark Property Management.

Berg said he had no role in the company. He founded its precursor in the 1980s, but produced documents showing he left before it became Goldmark Property Management. He later founded Goldmark Commercial Corp., a legally separate entity.

Berg said he wanted Heitkamp to pull that ad. Her campaign stood by it.

The DSCC ad, in turn, took aim at Berg’s denial, citing several media reports and campaign filings that tied him to Goldmark Property Management.

His campaign said those reports were unofficial and inaccurate.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502