December 12, 2011
This negative mailer was distributed just before the March 8, 2011 Winter Park city commission election and caused an understandable stir.
After the person claimed on the mailer to have paid for it acknowledged he did not even see the mailer before it was sent (Will Graves), I filed this complaint with the Winter Park Police who sent it on the the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida for investigation, seeking to find out who was behind the mailer.
The Detective Supervisor for the Circuit Court followed up on June 21, 2011 with this report noting that Beth Dillaha (a sitting city commissioner when the mailer was distributed) acknowledged involvement in the production and distribution of the mailer, and that a political consultant, David Plotkin, acknowledged receiving instructions from Dillaha regarding the mailer and acknowledged picking up money to pay for the mailer at Dillaha’s residence.
I filed the same complaint with the Florida Elections Commission after receiving the Detective Supervisor’s report and after Will Graves publicly acknowledged that he was not responsible for the mailer but that Dillaha had asked, and that he had agreed, to allow his name and address to be used as the funding source attributed on the mailer.
On October 14, 2011 Dillaha agreed to this consent order with the Florida Elections Commission acknowledging she circulated the negative mailer and did so without the proper disclaimer as required by Florida election law and agreed to pay a fine of $250.00.
OK, let’s see… Dillaha, while a sitting city commissioner, collected money (most likely cash) to produce and distribute a negative election mailer. She arranged for a fraudulent disclaimer on the mail piece and she acknowledged her intent to hide the names of those who actually paid for the mail piece from public view. So much for ethics and transparency. You can be sure these same people will be trying to mislead you in the future and do so anonymously because we still don’t know who they are.
Do we all understand the problems here? We can argue about election law and what should and should not be illegal. It is more important, I believe, to agree upon what is right and what is wrong.
Regards, Pete Weldon