The NBC 10 I-Team met up with Cranston mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung on Thursday to discuss criticism that his campaign ad dubbed "Open for Business" was actually shot in a 1950s themed diner in Ohio.
"The bottom line is this: The ad's message is what's important for Rhode Islanders. My real record of results in Cranston, take a look at what's going on here at Garden City, 1,000 new jobs have been added," said Fung in response to the question of whether he would have done anything different in retrospect.
Asked whether he thought about shooting the commercial at a diner or restaurant in Rhode Island, Fung said he did not want to discuss the production of the television ad.
Fung's opponent, businessman Ken Block, didn't waste any time posting a twitter picture of himself at a Cranston restaurant with a caption that said it would be a good location for a commercial.
"It makes no common sense that you would film that kind of commercial out of state. I was shocked," Block said Thursday.
Campaign finance reports show Fung spent $127,460 with the Ohio-based ad company The Strategy Group. And campaign records show nine of its employees donated $6,850 to Fung's cause around the time the ad was shot.
"We've complied with everything, disclosed everything that we had to do. There is nothing wrong with what we've done. We've disclosed it and let people know who are donors -- from the small donor all the way to the maximum donors," Fung said.
A Fung representative said the ad company uses portions of the $127,460 expenditure for local media buys, including airtime on NBC 10. He said some of that money is turned right around and spent in Rhode Island.
Fung has filed paperwork for public matching funds, should he advance to the general election.
Block questioned that some of those out-of-state contributions, from an advertising firm Fung did business with, would in turn be matched by public funds down the road.
Fung said he has 1,700 unique donors, many of which are Rhode Islanders.
As for the ads, this could the first of others. Fung's campaign said the mayor shot more material with the Ohio firm that could be used in future ads. There are no plans to use another company, a spokesperson said.