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Arizona man takes "Golden Heart" name from campaign

Mac Lebeau sold t-shirts from his company Spotted Dog Prints in the aftermath of a series of arson attacks in the Pleasant Valley/Two Rivers area in 2021.
Maisie Thomas/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Mac Lebeau sold t-shirts from his company Spotted Dog Prints in the aftermath of a series of arson attacks in the Pleasant Valley/Two Rivers area in 2021.

An Arizona businessman with Fairbanks ties has registered the name “Golden Heart Strong,” the same name as a borough ballot proposition advocacy group. Mathew Lebeau used the status to get Facebook to take down a “Golden Heart Strong” page advocating for the borough tax cap increase.

Matthew Lebeau, who goes by Mac, runs PolarisLive, an event company with an Alaska-sounding name in Tolleson, Arizona. He registered the business name “Golden Heart Strong,” on May 6, with the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. That was months after the political action committee Friends of Fairbanks Schools for Prop A formed in February and filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. They erected a website and Facebook Page named Golden Heart Strong.

On Tuesday evening, as polls were closing, Lebeau sent an email message to Golden Heart Strong co-chairs Morgan Dulian and Lael Oldmixon telling them to cease and desist using the name.

“And I just was like, Oh, whatever. It's the election's over. Like if somebody registered the name, no problem. We didn't create this campaign to go on and on,” Dulian said.

But campaign volunteers were suspicious that the business registration was dated May 6.

Lebeau was reached in Arizona Thursday morning and asked why the name “Golden Heart Strong” was important to his business, and why he picked that date.

“So thank you for reaching out.  Unfortunately I cannot comment on this matter right now. Uh, however, I do have a press release forthcoming, and if you'd like to give me your contact information, I can forward that to you once it's ready for publication,” Lebeau said.

Lebeau emailed late Thursday evening that his statement was not ready for release.

Lebeau is from Two Rivers and was in Fairbanks after his mother’s home was burned in a string of arson attacks in 2021. He sold t-shirts with the words “Two Rivers Strong” to raise money for his family and others after the fires, and later won a Crimestoppers award for helping law enforcement with the investigation. (He filed a business licence under the name “Two Rivers Strong” with an Arizona address in 2021.)

Dulian said she learned later that Lebeau’s mother, Ginger McKee of Two Rivers, posted on Facebook that the Friends of Fairbanks Schools group was committing fraud because they were using the Golden Heart name Lebeau had assumed (usurped?) the day before.

“She called us criminals. She was, she was saying that we were doing a criminal activity,” Dulian said.

The day after the election, the Friends of Fairbanks Schools for Prop A group tried to post a thank-you to the community for the high voter turnout.

“So we kind of land on the words and then Lael said we're not going to be able to post because Facebook just deactivated our Page.

“We got an email from Facebook saying your Page has been deactivated because of intellectual property violations,” Dulian said.

Dulian said others who opposed Proposition A have called her critical of what happened. Joshua Church is with Citizens for Transparent Government, a local group formed to oppose Proposition A.

“As far as I know from discussions with the people in Citizens for a Transparent Government, we had nothing to do with this Golden Heart campaign name change thing, and we don't want anything to do with it, we weren't aware of it. I don't want that kind of smearing insinuation to be a staple of Fairbanks politics,” said Joshua Church.

Church called the last-minute action a “hijacking” that could taint the honest work each side put into the campaign.

“To me it also seems not only unethical, but it also seems dumb. I mean, what possible impact could it have on the election the day before? And all it can do is just take away from the cleanness of the election. Yeah, I really hope that this doesn't tarnish the election or the attitude for moving forward for cooperative debate,” Church said.

Several groups contributed money to the No on Proposition A campaign, but Citizens for Transparent Government was the most high-profile. Church argued the No position against Dulian’s Yes position with Golden Heart Strong in debates before the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and the Tanana Valley League of Women Voters.

 “I was so impressed with Morgan Dulian on the Vote Yes committee. She was amazing to work with. She went out of her way to make sure that it was fair and that both sides were represented. Um, and really I had nothing but positive experiences from the Vote Yes people,” Church said.

Dulian says her group is pondering legal action.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.