Ala. mayor apologizes for cut-rate rent deal for McCain

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HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP) -- The mayor apologized Monday for giving John McCain a cut-rate rental deal on a city building and said he would ask the senator's Republican presidential campaign to pay the full amount.

Mayor Barry McCulley issued a statement saying he overstepped his authority in lowering rent on a city building where McCain held a fundraiser last week, and he said he was neither a supporter nor worker with the campaign.

McCulley dropped the price on a city-owned hall from $1,200 to $250 for the event, but he said he did so only because it was held on a Monday, typically a slow night for rentals.

 "I do not want any Homewood resident to think my actions were intentional, political or that there was any attempt to inappropriately use city assets," he said. A Democratic group complained that it was charged the full amount for the building in September while the price was lowered for a GOP candidate. McCulley said he had asked the McCain campaign to pay the full price for the building.

If it doesn't, McCulley said he would pay the difference himself. The McCain campaign did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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