WASHINGTON — State Assemblywoman Dierdre K. Scozzafava, R-Gouverneur, holds $1 million to $5 million in preferred stock for Seaway Valley Capital Corp., the company her brother founded and with which she has said she has no direct connection.
But the investment, shown on her personal financial disclosure filed with the House Clerk's Office, does not allow her a stockholder vote or reflect any role in the affairs of the company, Ms. Scozzafava said Tuesday.
Ms. Scozzafava has to file financial information because she is seeking the 23rd congressional district seat held by Rep. John M. McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor.
Ms. Scozzafava's connection, or lack thereof, with Seaway Valley has become an issue in her congressional campaign because the company faces state and federal liens on tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. Democrats have tried to link her to the company, despite her insistence that she has no position or influence there.
Her financial disclosure filing shows that she holds series C preferred stock, as does her husband, Ronald P. MacDougall. Preferred stock in a publicly held company does not typically entitle someone to a vote on company matters, as common stock would. But under certain circumstances, it can be converted to common stock.
Ms. Scozzafava said in a telephone interview Tuesday that what she actually holds is a debt obligation dating to her original investment in Wisebuys, the north country retail chain that Seaway Valley owned. She was corporate secretary for Wisebuys until March 2007, she reported in the filing.
Although the value of her holding is high compared with Seaway Valley's market capitalization — $70,682 as of Aug. 27 — it would reflect only about a 1 percent ownership share in the company if converted into common shares, she said. There are 150 shareholders in Seaway Valley, she said.
In the interview, Ms. Scozzafava acknowledged that the complexities of business and investment may make her connection to Seaway Valley confusing for voters. For instance, she said, Seaway Valley Capital Corp. is the publicly traded company in which she holds no position, but Seaway Capital Partners Inc. is the privately held company on which she serves as chief operating officer.
"I didn't want any role in the publicly traded company," she said.
She also disclosed the chief operating officer position in her House filing.
The investment did not generate a reportable amount of income in 2008, according to the filing.
She also reported family stock holdings in Kinney Drugs, SeaComm and Community Bank and her husband's investment in General Motors Corp. stock. Each of those was valued from $1,001 to $15,000. She also reported jointly held farmland in Waddington valued from $50,001 to $100,000, which generated from $201 to $1,000 in rental income.
Mrs. Scozzafava will face Democratic Party candidate William L. Owens and Conservative Party standard bearer Douglas L. Hoffman in the race to replace Mr. McHugh, who is awaiting confirmation as Secretary of the Army.