Eric Robinson – FL. Corrupt Political Process

ERIC ROBINSON HAS BECOME THE BAGMAN FOR THOSE CORRUPTING THE FLORIDA POLITICAL PROCESS

PART I

THE JACKSONVILLE SARASOTA CONNECTION

By Jon Susce

Ever since Eric Robinson arrived in Sarasota from Miami twelve years ago, with his wife, current Sarasota  County Commissioner Christine Robinson; Eric along with two other political operatives, Bob Waechter and Mac Stevenson have put together a political machine with the tacit approval of the Godfather of the corrupt Sarasota/Manatee political system, multi-million dollar developer,  Pat Neal.

Robinson’s role in this political machine is to move hundreds of thousands of dollars dark money from over 50 Political Action Committees (PAC’s) that he manages into the political campaigns of handpicked candidates of Neal and his political allies. In Sarasota County, and for that matter in adjoining Manatee County, there are very few elected officials who do not have a PAC managed by Robinson to finance their campaigns.

Robinson’s success as the “Bag Man” moving hundreds of thousands of campaign contributions in dark money from various multi-million dollar developers in the Sarasota/Manatee area like Neal, Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen, Randy Benderson, James Gabbert, Gary Kompothecras and others corrupting the local  political process, has now put him in the position to be the “Bag Man” for major state wide Florida political figures operating out of Jacksonville, whose interests include control of the Sarasota County School Board.
    CURRY FIGUREHEAD OF JACKSONVILLE POLITICAL MACHINE

For example, recently elected Mayor of Jacksonville and former Chairman of the Florida Republican Executive Committee,  Lenny Curry has formed a PAC called, BUILD SOMETHING THAT LASTS, which is managed by Robinson.  According to Curry this PAC was formed “to advance conservative principles… and support political causes and potentially candidates who reflect the same vision for the future of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.”

No doubt Curry and major state and national political rainmakers centered in the Jacksonville area, led by Gary Chartrand and few other Jacksonville rainmakers, who have made Curry the figurehead of their political machine have chosen Sarasota to be one of the statewide areas “to advance conservatives principles…”

ROBINSON ANOINTED BY CHARTRAND

FOR SARASOTA SCHOOL BOARD

In addition, Robinson appears to be a Chartrand anointed candidate reflecting the stated goal of Curry’s PAC, which is to “support political causes that reflect the same vision for the future of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.” For example, Curry’s PAC managed by Robinson has contributed to this date $70,000 into a Robinson managed PAC operating out of Venice, Florida called MAKING A BETTER TOMORROW to elect Robinson as a Sarasota School Board member.

Additionally, there is another $30,000 sent out of Robinson’s Venice office from Curry’s PAC, BUILD SOMETHING THAT LASTS,  to another Robinson managed PAC called SARASOTA CITIZENS FOR OUR SCHOOLS. In the 2014 election cycle that PAC funneled dark money into an ad agency in Washington D.C called Political Ink to send out flyers in support of Bridget Ziegler in her campaign for the Sarasota County School Board.

Chartrand, who has ties to several charter schools, brought Teach for America to Jacksonville, and funds the anti-union organization P.E.N.  Chartrand desires to accomplish in Sarasota what he and his fellow major political figures in Jacksonville did in financing  successful campaigns for Jacksonville’s six elected current school board members.  It would have been seven, but Paula Wright managed to defeat Chartrand’s other handpicked and well financed candidate.

CURRY’S PAC PUMPS DARK MONEY INTO ROBINSON CAMPAIGN

It is crystal clear that the $70,000 from Mayor Curry’s PAC (BUILD SOMETHING THAT LASTS) to Robinson is being orchestrated by Chartrand, who pulls Curry’s strings and sets his priorities. No doubt that thousands of dollars of dark money from Curry’s PAC will be used in the upcoming campaigns for the Sarasota County School Board, as was similarly accomplished with another Robinson managed PAC in electing Bridget Ziegler with dark money two years ago to the Sarasota County School Board.

LOCAL DARK MONEY INTO ROBINSON’S SCHOOL BOARD RACE
Into the same Robinson managed PAC, MAKING A BETTER TOMORROW, that has received $70,000 from those who have made Curry their political hack, there is over a $100,000 from local rainmakers who have made political hacks out of Sarasota and Manatee politicians.  Those local rainmakers making major contributors to Robinson managed MAKING A BETTER TOMORROW PAC include Benderson, Beruff, Kompothecras, Gabbert and local rainmaker land use attorney Bill Merrill III.
 

In addition there is a $9,700 contribution into Robinson’s MAKING A BETTER TOMORROW PAC from FREEDOM FIRST COMMITTEE Inc, which is a 527 political organization that since 2009 has raised over $10 million from another major political figure in Jacksonville and beyond, namely Tom Petway of Jacksonville, who funnels money into the campaigns of political hacks like Curry.

Robinson has funneled another $20,000 into his MAKING A BETTER TOMMROW PAC from yet another one of his managed PAC’s, CITIZENS HAVE RIGHTS IN SARASOTA, which has received $37,000 from Neal and $20,000 from Benderson.

ROBINSON’S GET $140,000 PAY OFF FOR PAY TO PLAY SCAM

Of the $224,131 that individuals like Benderson and Neal have contributed to CITZENS HAVE RIGHTS IN SARASOTA; $140,000 has gone into consulting fees to an entity called Robbie’s LLC controlled by Robinson and his wife, Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson. The same Commissioner Robinson who votes for Pay to Play scams by those pumping thousands of dollars into her husband’s various PAC’s and pays off  the duo with $140,000 in consultants fees.

NEAL PUMPS $296,200 DARK MONEY INTO ROBINSON MANAGED PAC
For those who have eyes to see, it is also crystal clear that the Jacksonville based millionaire and billionaire rainmakers who finance the campaigns of various statewide political hacks like Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry are moving $millions$ around in dark money through hundreds of PAC’s, and are partnering up with their fellow corporate welfare cronies; corrupting the political system in the Sarasota/Manatee area with PAC’s ALL managed by Robinson.

For example, two other PAC’s, financed by Neal, through which Robinson manages to move around dark money are: FLORIDIANS FOR A CONSERVATIVE FUTURE and FLORIDIANS FOR A CONSERVATIVE FUTURE POLITICAL COMMITTEE into which Neal, individually pumped in $296,200.

Expenditures from these two PAC’S included eight $15,000 items to a consultant company called Forward Strategies, which is a major fund raising firm owned and managed by Meredith O’Rourke, who raised millions of dollars for Republican Charlie Crist  and then raised millions for Governor Rick Scott when he ran against Democrat Crist. O’Rourke is now attempting to raise $millions for the presidential campaign of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

NEAL FUNNELS $150,000 INTO PAC CALLED “CUTTHROAT “
In addition, Neal has also contributed $150,000 through Robinson’s managed PAC to the FLORIDA FIRST INITIATIVE PAC. This particular PAC is among the most powerful in Tallahassee, having raised and spent nearly $6 million corrupting Florida politicians.  Among its six-figure contributions are those from committees run by former state House Speaker, Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and influential senators, John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

This shadow political group with past ties to former Republican candidate for Governor and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, emerged in the governor’s race in 2010 with a nasty attack on Republican front-runner Rick Scott.  The statewide television advertisement produced by FLORIDA FIRST INITIATIVE accused Scott’s former hospital chain of refusing care to poor and dying patients.

According to the Sarasota Observer, “McCollum turned to more insiders for some tough, Black Ops help. This is when The Florida First Initiative engaged the services of the Washington political consulting and advertising hit squad of McLaughlin & Associates. These guys are cutthroat; they go for the jugular.”

CURRY’S PAC PUMPS DARK MONEY

INTO STATE HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS

In terms of what’s being put forth for public consumption, BUILD SOMETHING THAT LASTS using Robinson as the “Bag Man,” is going to have a largely regional focus—is not at all reflected in terms of who is receiving campaign contributions from this PAC.  That is indicated by who has received campaign contributions from those who made Curry the Mayor of Jacksonville.  Namely the statewide candidates who have received, and will no doubt receive more dark money in future campaign contributions from Curry’s PAC managed by the “Bag Man”, Robinson.

For example, of the nine contributions made to Florida State Senators and State Representatives, three went to State Representatives Jose Oliva of Hialeah, Richard Corcoran of Land O Lakes, and Paul Renner of Palm Coast, respectively.  The remainder went to State Senators Rob Bradedle, Earl Simpson, Jay Fant, Aron Bean and Jack Latvala.

Why are these particular legislators receiving eight out of nine campaign contributions from Curry’s PAC? Behold the line-up:  Corcoran will be Speaker of House in 2018; Oliva will be Speaker of Florida House of Representatives in 2020 and Renner is the Jacksonville good ol’ boys pick to be Speaker in 2022.  Bradedle, Fant, Bean and Simpson were supporters of Senator Joe Negron in his successful, hotly contested campaign against Latvala for President of the Florida State Senate in 2018.

(Latvala received his seal of approval from the financial contributors to Curry’s PAC only after conceding to Negron, in lieu of being named Chairman of the powerful Florida Senate Appropriations Committee).

It is more than obvious when following the money in Curry’s PAC  that these Jacksonville millionaires and billionaires who pull Curry’s strings are not simply interested in controlling the political and economic matters in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. They desire “to advance conservative principles and…support political causes and potentially candidates who reflect the same vision for the future of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.”  AND BEYOND!

No doubt these so called “conservative principles” include control of the Jacksonville School Board and the Sarasota County School Board. In addition it appears the the type of vision for the future of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida conjured by the rainmakers in Jacksonville matches that of the rainmakers in the Sarasota/ Manatee area who funnel hundreds of thousands of dark money into PAC’s managed by GUESS WHO?  None other than Eric “The Bag Man” Robinson.

NEXT

ERIC ROBINSON HAS BECOME THE BAGMAN FOR THOSE CORRUPTING THE FLORIDA POLITICAL PROCESS

PART II

DID ATTACK ON LOCAL GOP LEADER GRUTERS LINKING HIM IN AN  AFFAIR HAVE A JACKSONVILLE CONNECTION—WAS VERN BUCHANAN A TARGET?

Posted in Breaking News, Politics, Regional / Local News, Regional / Local Politics, State Politics

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