I downloaded Kevin Madok’s campaign contributions from the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections website. As you’ll recall Madok won the hotly contested race for Clerk of Court. He narrowly beat incumbent Amy Heavilin in the Republican primary and Democrat Ron Saunders in the general election after running an extraordinarily negative campaign. Sad to say – the voters ate it up.
During her tenure as Clerk, Amy Heavilin did a few things to make Madok’s bosses on the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) very unhappy. She found and corrected some irregularities in the way certain wastewater transactions were booked. And she performed an audit that found three of the county commissioners and the county administrator (aka. the iPhone bandit) had misused their county-issued purchasing cards.
Clearly, Heavilin was a menace that had to be stopped.
Anyhow, the contributions to Madok’s campaign yielded some interesting information. See the attached list. Note this information can be downloaded from the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections website. You don’t have to take my word for any of this. Feel free to look for yourself.
The orange highlighted items are contributions from the county’s Tallahassee lobbyists. Why would the county’s Tallahassee lobbyist bother to contribute to the Clerk’s race? They never have before. But in this case, they contributed a combined $2,250.
The county employs three lobbying firms in Tallahassee (at least that I know about).
- Peebles & Smith, LLC – $72,000 per year
- Capitol Insight, LLC (see link above)
- Anfield Consulting, Inc. – $51,432 per year
All $2,250 came from the Peebles/Smith/Capitol Insight crew. None came from Anfield Consulting. As you might recall, county commissioner Danny Kolhage had a big problem with Anfield supposedly because of a “conflict of interest“.
In September, commissioners delayed consideration of renewing Anfield’s contract after Kolhage and George Neugent, now county mayor, raised questions about a possible conflict of interest.
“They represent Big Sugar,” Kolhage said in September. “That’s an inherent conflict and I cannot vote for it.”
I’m very skeptical of Kolhage’s “principled stand”. After all, Kolhage tacitly supports a great many sleazy situations – negligently unfair funding, reckless spending, undisclosed conflicts of interest, blatant lies to the public, his colleague’s ethics violations, and let’s not ever forget his role in the disgraceful SUFA debacle. Kolhage will climb up on his high horse when it suits him, but let’s be real – if Kolhage really cared about ethics, he’d have a lot more to say. Quite frankly, I think Kolhage’s objection to Anfield’s contract has more to do with their failure to donate to Madok’s campaign.
Also on the list were a couple of county commissioners, David Rice and Sylvia Murphy. Their contributions are highlighted in blue. As you might recall, David Rice was one of the commissioners found to have misused his county-issued purchasing card. He also had close family ties to the FKAA at one point. I’m sure he’d like to see a more pliable occupant in the Clerk’s office. And the Odious Sylvia Murphy is certainly no fan of fact-finding and truth.
I was surprised that Heather Carruthers wasn’t on the list. Madok was her partner-in-crime on the Emergency Services Surtax proposal. Maybe she couldn’t afford to make a donation this time around. Too bad. Poor Kevin put his reputation on the line for her with that crappy “white paper”. You’d think Carruthers could scrounge up $50 for the guy. Nothing from ethically-challenged George Neugent either – maybe tapped out from his go-round with the ethics commission. Or from Kolhage – but as I mentioned above, I have a feeling he was flogging donations out of other people.
FKAA-related individuals and entities showed up on the list as well. Their donations are highlighted in green. The Toppino’s contributed about $1,200 combined. Cara Higgins serves on the board along with Richard Toppino. Her law firm, Horan, Wallace & Higgins, donated. As did FKAA board member David Ritz’s Ocean Reef PAC.
Think about the millions in taxpayer money that the FKAA has squandered on the wastewater projects thanks to the BOCC. While the taxpayers took a major hit, this unconscionable waste was extremely profitable for certain folks. I’m sure Heavilin’s poking around into the wastewater transactions was unwelcome to say the least. The FKAA must be very relieved that she’s been replaced with someone far more controllable and compliant.
There were also two landfill companies that donated. They don’t appear to have any contracts with the county at present, but I thought it might be good to make a note of that for future reference. Those items are highlighted in pink.
To sum up:
- This years Clerk’s race attracted a lot of money. Madok’s campaign alone had $90,000 in donations.
- County lobbyists made substantial donations. As far as I know, that’s a first in Monroe County history. The one firm who didn’t donate got blow back from county commissioner, Danny Kolhage.
- Individuals and entities affiliated with FKAA board members also made substantial donations. This is something to keep an eye on given the BOCC’s extraordinary generosity to the FKAA – at great expense to the taxpayers.
- A couple of landfill companies outside of Monroe County made donations. I don’t see the significance of that yet. Perhaps it will become clearer with time.