It may be too early to call state Sen. Jason Brodeur a loser in the ongoing “ghost candidate” scandal. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Joel Greenberg, Seminole’s former tax collector, told investigators “that Brodeur ‘absolutely’ knew about the plan to recruit a spoiler candidate to help him win office two years ago.” The Sanford Republican has denied those allegations – and Greenberg has some credibility problems, having pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and other charges. Moreover, Brodeur remains the head of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, although its board released a statement that they’re “conducting an extensive review of his work.” Now on to this week’s Winners & Losers.
Eric Eikenberg -
Like a native alligator escaping a Burmese python, the head of the Everglades Foundation can breathe a sigh of relief. Eric Eikenberg’s foundation, which “works to restore and protect” the Everglades, struck a confidential settlement with its former chief scientist, Tom Van Lent. The foundation had claimed that Van Lent stole confidential research while leaving for a new job with Friends of the Everglades, a competing nonprofit – while Van Lent asserted the foundation had put politics over facts. For putting this matter to bed, it’s a win for this week.
Linda Sherwood -
We’re still kind of in a pandemic, so working from home – if you’re able – shouldn’t be a big deal. That’s what the city of Hollywood has decided, after City Commissioner Linda Sherwood moved to Georgia to care for her sick daughter. Fellow commissioners say she’s doing her work remotely, attending commission meetings and dealing with constituent matters. And the city charter says the commission itself is the sole judge of the qualifications of its members. For an innovative take on work-life balance, we give Sherwood a thumbs up.
Donald Trump -
Just when you think he’s down, he gets back up. A federal judge granted the former president’s request for an outside legal expert to review documents from the raid of his palatial Florida home. The decision “almost certainly slows the pace of the (U.S. Justice) Department’s investigation into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago,” the AP explained. Why, the incident even gave Trump some polling points over Ron DeSantis, a sorta, maybe, ‘who knows’ rival for the GOP nomination for president in 2024. Boat drinks!
Randy Fine -
State Rep. Randy Fine has been sounding the alarm on social media and to state education officials about a transgender student allegedly committing sexual assault at a Brevard County middle school. However, a Melbourne Police investigation found that no such event took place – or, you could say, it was just Fine. The Palm Bay Republican was also photographed boarding a Disney Cruise just months after he helped lead the push to dissolve the mouse’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. We hope he enjoyed his vacation.
Rick Scott -
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has been on his back foot this week defending himself from criticism of his role in having already spent 95% of the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s $181 million war chest with weeks to go until the general election. The conflict has left him clashing with Senate leadership in his own party, while making appearances on conservative news outlets to try to explain himself. It is not the showing that Republicans nationwide want to see heading into an election season where they hope to flip the Senate.
Ken Welch -
First the St. Petersburg mayor’s communication director Janelle Irwin Taylor resigned, alleging bullying from Deputy Mayor Stephanie Owens. Next, a 2021 letter from his campaign team levying similar allegations against Owens emerged. Then Owens herself resigned. Welch has defended his former deputy mayor, saying he didn’t believe there was a “pervasive, hostile work environment” and downplaying the letter. Whatever is going on, something isn’t right at St. Petersburg City Hall, and Welch is the captain of that ship.