By Jim Bleyer
Elitist David Straz doesn’t like playing by the rules.
For at least the second consecutive month, the putative Tampa mayoral candidate’s PAC filed an incomplete financial report with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.
The billionaire, who made his fortune buying and selling banks, said he had no contributions or expenditures in the February reporting period.
In the very public world of politics, no one is buying the garbage that he is selling.
In-kind contributions are required to be listed and Straz’ campaign headquarters is located inside the offices of Tucker Hall, a public relations firm that has become tainted from its embroilment with an effort that, to be charitable, is in total disarray.
In a blog post last month, Tampa Bay Beat pointed out Straz’ flawed January financial filing and the mounting problems of trying to sell a political novice and Trump voter with shady business investments to a mostly progressive electorate.
Such behavior and flaunting of rules may fly with South Tampa socialites but the typical Tampa voter demands more of their public officials.
Tucker-Hall CEO Bill Carlson and businessman Al Fox encouraged Straz to run, primarily to block former police chief Jane Castor from winning the office. Castor’s candidacy is reportedly backed by outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a longtime political nemesis of Carlson.
There are a couple of ironies in this strategy. First, Castor, if she runs, would have an uphill struggle against Councilmen Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez and former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik.
Secondly, Carlson and Fox actually are backing an entity that would clearly be a far worse mayor than Jane Castor. Straz has shown no grasp of the issues despite the hosting of focus groups on his behalf at Tucker Hall.
For those that have declared for mayor, comtributions reported were Turanchik, $63,550; Christopher Morrison, $12,458, and Michael Anthony Hazard, $274.05 (all but $10 in-kind).
Hazard, the least known of all the declared and potential candidates, might think about offering a seminar on what constitutes in-kind contributions. It would benefit the public and keep his opponents from filing perjured paperwork.
Straz, who formed an exploratory committee for the 2018-19 mayor’s race, still has not officially entered but his PAC has around a quarter of a million cash on hand.
Cohen, Suarez, and Castor haven’t officially declared.