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Political Endorsement Up at Ioka

A nonprofit group trying to revive the art house distanced itself from the nod.

A sign promoting Jackie Cilley for governor is up at one of the most prominent locations in Exeter.

The marquee of the was recently changed to read "Vote Jackie Cilley for Governor."

The endorsement was approved by Alan Lewis, a Kensington philanthropist who the historic building at an auction last year. The Ioka dates back to 1915 and formerly showed movies.

Lewis has been working with the Exeter Theater Company, a nonprofit group planning to turn to Ioka into an art house that will show movies and plays, among other performances. Lewis has discussed leasing the building to the theater company, but no deal has been finalized yet.

The theater company moved quickly to distance itself from the endorsement, releasing the following statement:

A political advertisement has been placed on the Ioka Theater marquee by the current owner of the building. This was done without our knowledge or consent. As a non-profit organization, the Exeter Theater company cannot and does not endorse any candidate.

Nonprofits are prohibited from participating in political campaigns because of their tax-exempt status. Federal rules wouldn't apply to the theater company for the Cilley endorsement, since it doesn't own the Ioka.

Lewis couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

Cilley, of Barrington, is up against Exeter's Maggie Hassan for the Democratic nomination for governor. The Primary is in September.

Jason Claffey (Editor) August 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM
On our Facebook page, Paul Sawyer left this comment about this story: "The nonprofit group is correct to stay neutral. The owner has a right to put a sign on his building. What gets me angry is all the politicians who put many, many signs on public property, where they are an eyesore, and sometimes a traffic hazard. These have a negative effect on voters." – The Editor
Wayne M. Patten August 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Hooray for Mr. Lewis. Let us not forget, then Sate Senator, Maggie Hassan, now gubernatorial candidate, was very much a part of the "whitewash" of Financial Resources Management's NH Ponzi Scheme. A huge amount of her financial campaign backing comes from out-of-state. Do we really want a gubernatorial candidate like that promoted on the streets of Exeter? Wayne Patten, Exeter, NH
F. R. August 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM
It's certainly the right of the owner to do this but as a contributor to the theater company trying to revive the place, I find it a bit disconcerting. Akthough they have quickly come out to distance themselves, I am concerned how this could be connected to them and cause some confusion.
Phil Wilson August 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Hassan supporters vs Cilley supporters, moonbat vs moonbat combat at its finest. So Exeter.
Average Joe August 15, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Hit the Wayne Patten website for some level headed talk. Phil Wilson where are your gold paved streets? So....(fill in the blank).

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