SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSIONER MORAN DEEP IN NEAL’S “PAY TO PLAY” POLITICAL MACHINE SEEKS RE-ELECTION by Jon Susce
Mike Moran’s expected presence on the ballot for re-election in 2020 to the Sarasota County Commission will be an affront to the political process, considering how deeply Moran is entrenched in Pat Neal’s (and his fellow “Pay to Play” developers) pockets.
Moran exemplifies the corruption of our political process, due to the complete control that Neal’s political machine exerts on local politicians like Moran.
NEAL “A POLITICAL FOSSIL”
By the way, although Neal may stuff local politicians in his pockets it should be highly questionable that Neal is still a force in Republican politics outside the area considering this quote in a major statewide media outlet about Neal:
“Considering the current electoral environment, anyone who first got involved in Republican politics 43 years ago is a political fossil who offers nothing new, exciting or needed to Florida’s government.”
MORAN ONE OF NEAL’S POLITICAL HACKS
There is documentation on whose pockets Moran slipped into, once he became one of Neal’s political hacks sitting on the Sarasota County Commission.
Leading the list of these pockets were Neal, Randy Benderson, Carlos Beruff, James Gabbert, Gary Kompothecras and other local “Pay to Play” developers.
These local “Pay to Play” developers control local politicians which include County Commissioners like Moran, judges, law enforcement officials and various other politicians through thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
2016 MORAN FUNDRAISER AT FIELD CLUB
Moran slid into the local Neal political machine on April 23, 2016 when Neal and his “Pay to Play” cronies, who control Sarasota County Government, anointed Moran to succeed Carolyn Mason as District 1 Sarasota County Commissioner with a major fund raiser at the Field Club.
What was troublesome is that Moran’s fundraiser was held at the Field Club, which is not in a geographical district that Moran represents, nor in any neighborhoods where a majority of residents in Moran’s North Sarasota district reside.
Was it an oversight or was it intentional, since the Field Club is essentially a white, wealthy membership establishment? For example, ever since the Field Club first opened in 1957 it has held one of Sarasota most restricted memberships with little or no minority members.
If it is one of Sarasota best keep secrets that the Field Club is an all-white establishment, it is difficult to authenticate. For example, the Sarasota Magazine recently wrote, “they always wanted to do a story on the Field Club but have been met by a stone wall of silence at every turn”.
Moran raised over $36,000 at that fundraiser and members of his host committee included Neal, Benderson, Beruff, Gabbert, Kompethecras and other local “Pay to Play” developers. Also, on Moran’s host committee were Neal’s machine handpicked Sarasota County Commissioners; Christine Robinson, Al Maio, Charles Hines and Paul Caraguilo.
“PAY TO PLAY” DEVELOPERS MADE A MOCKERY WITH CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS TO MORAN
“Pay to Play” developers like Benderson, Neal, Beruff and Kompothecras made a mockery out of the local campaign finance regulations with their campaign contributions to the Moran Field Club fundraiser and other contributions throughout Moran’s campaign.
Instead of following the limits of one $200 contribution per entity they use their numerous controlled LLC’s to usurp local campaign contributions regulations to stuff Moran into their pockets.
For example, take a look at Moran’s list of contributors in 2016 and you will find the following major contributors:
James Gabbert stuffed 26, $200 contributions into Moran’s pockets.
Carlos Beruff stuffed 24, $200 checks into Moran’s pockets
Rex Jensen stuffed 15, $200 checks into Moran’s pockets
West Villages developers stuffed 13, $200 checks into Moran’s pockets.
Neal along with Bob Waechter, Bill Merrill III, Bo Medred, Jeff Boone and others making $millions by stuffing county commissioners into their pockets stuffed over 30, $200 checks into Moran’s war chest.
BENDERSON STUFFED 25, $200 CHECKS IN MORAN’S POCKETS
The most troublesome contributions were the 25, $200 checks stuffed into Moran’s pockets that came from Randy Benderson’s LLCs and Benderson employees as follows:
LLC’s controlled by Benderson which contributed the maximum $200 checks to the Moran campaign: LPM WINTER SPRINGS BUSINESS TRUST; PROMENADE ASSOCIATES L.P.; MSF MARKET, LLC; CYPRESS WOODS ASSOCIATES, LLC; CC-INVESTORS 1197-11; BUFFALO-VICTORIA BUSINESS TRUST; BUFFALO-LOL ASSOCIATES, LTD AND BNY-SF ASSOCIATES.
The following employees of Benderson’s officials funneled $200 checks to Moran:
David Baldauf and his wife Susan; Baldauf has been the Benderson Corporation chief accountant both in Buffalo and Sarasota for over 30 years.
Mark Chait and his wife Kim; Chait is Executive Director of leasing for Benderson projects in the Southeast United States.
Richard Franco and his wife Arlene; Franco is Senior Vice President of Benderson Development.
Larry Fineberg and his wife Julie; Fineberg is a longtime Benderson project manager, who was once described by City of Sarasota Attorney, Bob Fournier as, “acting like a gangster” in negotiating a project.
Todd Mathes, his wife Julie, and his 73-year-old mother in Pine City, New York; Mathes is another longtime Benderson project manager, who pushed through a Benderson project before the Sarasota County Commission at Stickney Point and US 41, which was opposed by thousands of neighborhood residents in the area.
Another contributor to the Moran campaign is Stephen Scalione, a Benderson Development accountant involved in 10 Benderson LLC’s.
Scalione’s live-in girlfriend, Reva Holcombe, who is the other member of a Scalione LLC called, “THE NAIL LOFT LLC” is another maximum $200 contributor to Moran.
Yet another Benderson affiliate CM MIAMI TRUST” in Dallas, Texas contributed the maximum $200 contribution to the Moran campaign.
WHAT THETHOUSANDS IN $200 CHECKS FROM NEAL AND OTHER DEVELOPERS BOUGHT FROM MORAN
Thousands from numerous $200 checks bought Neal and his “Pay to Play” contributors to Moran’s, Sarasota County Commissioner campaign the following:
Gabbert received Moran’s vote on his proposed industrial recycling plant adjacent to the Celery Fields.
Benderson received Moran’s vote on his U.S 41/Stickney Point project and every Benderson project that comes before Moran.
Beruff received Moran’s vote on his Foxfire housing development on a contaminated dumpsite as well as every project Beruff brings before Moran.
Neal, Jensen, Boone and every other “Pay to Play” developer, who like all the others mentioned above paid Moran on the cheap with numerous$200 checks, received Moran’s vote for their projects.
“RAINMAKERS” PAY $THOUSANDS TO MORAN TO PLAY
“Rainmakers” for Neal and his “Pay to Pay” developers like Merrill, Medred, Bailey, Waechter received thousands of dollars from the local “Pay to Play” developers for pushing their projects before the Sarasota County Commissioners, who like Moran voted for their “Pay to Play” clients projects.
MORAN POLITICAL SIGNS INUNDATED “PAY TO PLAY” DEVELOPERS PROPERTIES
It was shameful to see Moran’s numerous political signs placed all over Neal’s and other “Pay to Play” developers’ properties. The most offensive are the ones Moran had on Benderson’s properties at Stickney Point and US 41, where Benderson is set to transform the area into another unwanted traffic nightmare.
EXPECT NEAL AND HIS “PAY TO PLAY” DEVELOPERS TO STUFF $THOUSANDS INTO MORAN’S RE-ELECTION
No doubt Moran can once again expect to have Neal and his fellow “Pay to Play developers stuffing thousands of dollars into Moran pockets, as Moran he seeks to continue to be their vote on the county commission.
EXPECT ERIC “THE PRINCE OF DARK PAC MONEY” TO FUNNEL $THOUSANDS INTO MORAN’S RE-ELECTION
In addition, just as he did in 2016, Moran can expect Eric “The Nigerian Prince of Dark PAC Money” Robinson to funnel thousands of dollars into the Moran re-election campaign through his managed PAC.
“The Nigerian Prince of Dark PAC Money” Robinson is responsible for putting together over 40 PACs, funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to various politicians throughout the State of Florida, who fit nicely into the pockets of multimillion dollar “Pay to Play” developers like Neal, Benderson, Gabbert, Beruff, etc.
One can also expect Moran to have his political signs located at numerous Neal, Benderson, Beruff, Gabbert and all other properties owned by individuals who have stuffed money into Moran’s re-election campaign.
As mentioned at the outset of this article, Mike Moran’s expected presence on the ballot for re-election in 2020 to the Sarasota County Commission will be an affront to the political process, considering how deeply Moran is in the pockets of Neal and his fellow “Pay to Play” developers.