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POWAY, Calif. — A local political rival has launched an effort to remove Poway Mayor Steve Vaus from office.

The recall bid, led by Poway resident and multi-time city council candidate Chris Olps, alleges Vaus failed to report financial disclosures relating to fundraising for an event called Carols by Candlelight, which raised money for Rady Children’s Hospital. The recall leader is also critical of the mayor’s relationship with developers in the region.

Olps, who held a news conference Wednesday, raised questions about the mayor’s annual holiday event, claiming Vaus did not report more than $50,000 in charitable donations to the IRS.

His group now must collect more than 6,000 signatures from residents by late February for the recall to land on the ballot.

In response to the recall petition formally filed with the Poway city clerk on Oct. 21, Mayor Vaus issued a statement calling it a “phony recall scheme” and a political stunt by Olps, who Vaus referred to as a “five-time losing city council candidate.”

“Olps lies saying Mayor Vaus failed to file required financial disclosures related to his Carols by Candlelight Christmas concert. FACT: the State of California found zero violations and rejected that claim,” the mayor wrote. “Olps claims the concert, benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital, is legally required to be registered as a business or charity – that is a lie.”

The recall leader called on Vaus to provide documents disproving his claims.

“He has options he can take that would make this go away,” he said. “He could bring up paperwork — it would show all of these filings are not true. You can actually stand up and come forward and be transparent.”

Reached by phone Thursday, a spokesperson for the mayor said Vaus was not currently commenting on the recall beyond his written statement.