How Neal’s Local Corrupt Political Gang Elects A Sheriff, A School Board Member and Two County Commissioners.

How Neal’s Local Corrupt Political Gang Elects A Sheriff, 
A School Board Member and Two County Commissioners.

By Jon Susce

Once again as another political cycle emerges in Sarasota, the GODFATHER of a corrupt local political system, Pat Neal is being joined by a select few of his fellow multi-million dollar developers setting about to elect their handpicked local political hacks to insure that Sarasota County continues their lucrative “pay to play” scams.  SEE  ATTACHMENTS  #1 and#2
 A CLUELESS INEPT LOCAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
In addition, once again the local Democratic Party facilitates this corrupt local political system by failing to have any legitimate candidates running against the handpicked political hacks of Neal and his cronies. As local Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters once stated, “the local Democratic Party under the inept leadership of Rita Ferrandino was his best political assist in getting Republicans elected locally.”

Don’t let the recent election of two Democrats to the Sarasota City Commission disguise the fact that it was accomplished by the behind the scenes support of local leading Republicans like Joe Barbetta, Paul Caraguilo and their politically ally, the 68 times convicted felon Michael Barfield. That support was predicated on their agenda—which a naïve, local politically inept Democratic Party fell for—which was to elect two clueless city commissioners to turn the city into major urban sprawl, which is the same thing that Neal and his cronies are doing  to the county.

THOUSANDS OF CAMPAIGN DOLLARS INTO NEAL’S “HACKS” 

As for the election of the Neal gang’s handpicked candidates in this present election cycle, and by way of illustration, a year before the local election takes place those individuals who stuff politicians into their pockets have proceeded to stow thousands of dollars into the campaign coffers of their political “hack” candidates:  Sarasota County Sheriff (Tom Knight), two Sarasota County Commissioners (Charles Hines and Mike Moran) and a Sarasota County School Board member (Eric Robinson).

LOCAL POLITICIANS FIT NICELY INTO
POCKETS OF NEAL AND HIS CRONIES

The campaign finance reports submitted by Knight, Moran, Robinson and Hines give clear evidence that Neal, Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen, Randy Benderson, Gary Kompothecras and the newest member of this gang corrupting local politics, James Gabbert, are major contributors to Moran, Knight, Hines and Robinson, which gives a clear indication that those politicians will be fitting nicely into the pockets  of those who make a mockery of the local election process.

THE GODFATHER OF A NEFARIOUS CORRUPT POLITICAL PROCESS

Neal with the assistance of his political operatives initiated the process to elect his political hacks by setting up fundraisers for them early in the election cycle. Neal’s strategy for the early solicitation of thousands of dollars is to scare off early potential candidates, who will understand that they can’t compete with the comparatively unlimited campaign funds that Neal and his crowd can solicit.

Neal, who is the ringleader of this nefarious group of multi-million dollar developers, whose greed knows no limits, attempts to portray himself as a smooth, smiling, squeaky-clean, local developer who makes every effort to remain free of questionable or unethical behavior.  Unfortunately for Neal, his attempts to hide out from his malicious corruption of the political system are absurd, considering his past and present fundraising activities.

ROBINSON, WAECHTER AND STEVENSON PROMOTE NEAL’S AGENDA

In addition, Neal’s behind the scenes control of the political process using local political operatives like Bob Waechter, Mac Stevenson and the “Prince of Dark Money,” Eric Robinson to move his agenda to elect handpicked candidates (including judges) for local political office, is an evil, conspiratorial criminal enterprise.

    DOWD—NEAL’S LATEST PRETTY, YOUNG, FEMALE OPERATIVE

Once the seal of approval is placed on Neal’s handpicked puppets, the pumping of campaign donations into politicians chosen to carry the water for Neal and his cronies begins.  Neal’s latest pretty young female operative, Kelly Dowd solicits campaign contributions from a list of loyal contributors supplied by the GODFATHER.

DOWD FUNNELS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS  TO THE “BAG MAN”

Individuals contacted by Dowd by phone or mail are solicited to send their contributions directly to Eric Robinson or the candidate.

Case in point, in a conversation with Robinson, wherein he spend over 30 minutes trying to gloss over his “dark money” political activities with various local candidates, Robinson stated that if the contributions don’t go directly to him, then the candidate forwards the contributions to him. 

Robinson acting as the “bag man” for local politicians then places those campaign contributions in the candidate’s accounts that he manages, and is reimbursed for his services from those contributions.

Robinson is the same individual who makes a mockery of local campaign finance regulations by transferring thousands of dollars of “dark money” from over 50 PAC’s he manages, which eventually land in an add agency in Washington D.C. and are used to maliciously attack opponents of Neal’s handpicked candidates.   Rest assured, as Robinson has done in past election cycles, he will do so again in this election cycle if any of Neal’s candidates receive opposition.

NEAL’S USE OF YOUNG FEMALE OPERATIVES 
TO MOVE HIS POLITICAL AGENDA

Dowd follows a long line of Neal’s attractive young ladies who put the fix on the good ol’ boys who enjoy hearing a young sweet voice like Dowd’s on the phone asking for a contribution. Two other attractive young women who have a history of being shills for Neal, Jensen and other multi-million dollar developers corrupting the political process are Rochelle Dudley and Candice McElyea.  Both Dudley and McElyea have solicited money in the past for candidates backed by Neal and his cronies.
Dudley and McElyea raised thousands of dollars for local Sarasota and Manatee politicians through their political consultant group called ON MESSAGE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS.  Just about every politician kissing the GODFATHER’s ring has had this attractive female duo putting together major local fundraisers or making phone calls, collecting thousands of dollars for Neal endorsed candidates.  

Before joining with Dudley, McElyea did a “gig” with Neal, Jensen and few others interested in having her write puff pieces for their good ol’ boy scams.

After Dudley married local Sarasota and Washington D.C. attorney Casey Coburn and became an aide to U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson, McElyea has formed another political promotion company called THREESIXOH with among others, Susan Nilon and Christian Ziegler. Tracy Knight, who is the wife of Sheriff Knight has recently joined THREESIXOH as a contributor, no doubt promoting Neal’s candidates and causes.

By the way, McElyea’s husband, Kevin McElyea been promoted to a Major in  Sarasota County Sheriff Knight’s “lily white” Administration.

Ivory Crofoot, a Neal employee and a former Neal employee, Mary Ann Grgic are two other attractive political operatives working for Neal, who have raised thousands of dollars for the GODFATHER. Grgic and Crofoot were seen on numerous occasions accompanying Neal on campaign trips throughout the state, collecting campaign contributions for Neal’s handpicked local, statewide and national politicians. For some reason, Grigic has reportedly recently been dumped by Neal.
Mary Slapp, who is the Executive Director of the West Coast Builders Exchange, is another political operative and female campaign fund solicitor for Neal and his cronies.  Slapp is involved in numerous political activities to get Neal’s local handpicked politicians elected.
Mary Slapp, who is the Executive Director of the West Coast Builders Exchange, is another political operative and female campaign fund solicitor for Neal and his cronies.  Slapp is involved in numerous political activities to get Neal’s local handpicked politicians elected.  

DOWD ANOTHER LOCAL POLITICAL OPERATIVE CORRUPTING 
FINANCE REGULATIONS

Dowd, Neal’s latest willing corrupter of campaign finance regulations and another of his political gadfly’s, “floats around” various social events like Tiger Bay, where the self-proclaimed social elite mingle with corrupt local  politicians. 

Dowd’s only claim to fame is that she is the daughter of John Dowd, who made big bucks in real estate via his connection with local rainmakers and politicians such as his close friend and business partner, former Sarasota County Commissioner, Joe Barbetta.

DOWD AND SIESTA KEY BAR SCENE “IN CROWD” 
If it wasn’t for Poppy Dowd, Kelly would probably be a bartender at some Siesta Key bar like the Beach Club on Siesta Key where the proprietor is Chris Brown, who is a heavy contributor to corrupt politicians in Sarasota, and also close friend of Barbetta.

If Brown doesn’t have an opening for Dowd at the Beach Club to pick up some extra cash in between “hustling” campaign funds for Neal, she can always ask Sheriff Knight to recommend her to Troy Syprett at the Daiquiri Deck.  Syprett caters Knight fundraisers and is a heavy contributor to Sheriff Knight  and other hack politicians campaigns. 

By the way, one wonders how Sheriff Knight’s deputies on Siesta Key deal with, or at all, with drunken disturbances at the Daiquiri Deck or at the Beach Club owned by Brown, who is Barbetta’s favorite bar owner.

DOWD CAMPAIGN FINANCE COLLECTION DUTIES
Part of Dowd’s duties in this present election cycle have been to call individuals on lists provided by Neal and other corrupter’s of the local political process, and to send out a flyer with an invitation to attend fundraisers.

Dowd’s flyer has endorsements for Neal’s hack politicians like Sheriff Knight with testimonials from individuals who claim to be the social elite and political leaders of Sarasota, but in essence are little more than part of a corrupt social and political system run by Neal, Beruff, Jensen, Benderson and a few others. The contributors are all asked to send their contributions to the candidates that Neal and his cronies have anointed and as mentioned before, end up with Robinson.

These individuals are turning Sarasota into another  chaotic urban sprawl entity like Ft. Lauderdale, or what some have now dubbed Sarasota—“Bendersonville”—all the while making $millions$ in profits for Neal and his fellow corrupter’s of the local political process.

Dowd was paid $2,000 to make her calls and send out flyers for the Hines fundraiser, and local land use attorney Bill Merrill paid $2,811 to finance the fundraiser held at the Field Club.

For Sheriff Knight’s fundraiser, Dowd was paid $2,474 to make calls and send out flyers, and the Daiquiri Deck Bar on Siesta Key was paid $6,273 to cater the fundraiser.  (Inquiries as to whether law enforcement security was provided for Sheriff Knight’s fundraiser, as have been provided for Knight fundraisers in the past, have gone unanswered).

Dowd was paid $500 by Moran to make calls and send out flyers for the Moran fundraiser, and local multi-million dollar developer James Gabbert paid $3,351 to finance the fundraiser expenses held at the Field Club.

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM NEAL AND HIS CRONIES

The fundraiser for Moran raised in excess of $36,000, the fundraiser for Hines raised in excess of $33,000 and the fundraiser for Knight raised in excess of $49,000.

The Neal gang contributed the following for the Hines fundraiser:

James Gabbert gave (10) $200 contributions.

Rex Jensen gave (5) $200 contributions.

Randy Benderson gave (5) $200 contributions. 

By the way, in the last election cycle of 2012, Benderson made a complete mockery of the political process in Sarasota by giving Hines (49) $200 contributions from his various controlled LLC’s based in Buffalo. 

The Neal Gang contributed the following for the Knight fundraiser:

Gary Kompothecras gave (12) $200 contributions.

Pat Neal gave (5) $200 contributions.

Rex Jensen gave (10) $200 contributions.

Randy Benderson gave (14) $200 contributions.

The Neal Gang contributed the following for the Moran fundraiser:

James Gabbert gave (11) $200 contributions.

Carlos Beruff gave (17) $200 contributions.

Pat Neal gave (5) $ 200 contributions. 

Rex Jensen gave (11) $200 contributions.

Once again the deceitful corrupter’s of our local political process,  Neal, Benderson, Beruff, Kompothecras and Gabbert, are  making a mockery out of the local campaign finance regulations via solicitations by Dowd. 

Instead of adhering to the limit of one $200 contribution per entity, they will once again violate the letter of the law by using their numerous, controlled LLC’s to usurp local campaign contribution regulations. This misuse of regulatory rules and bending of the intent of the law makes no differences to these individuals, who consider themselves above the law.

PAST ELECTION CYCLE ILLUSTRATIONS OF NEAL AND CRONIES STUFFING POLITICIANS IN THEIR POCKETS

The information below is found on Kelly Dowd’s list of
contributors and the amount of money turned over to hack 
politicians like Moran, Hines, and Knight in past election cycles.

Rex Jensen gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (10) $200 contributions, former Commissioner Nora Patterson (7) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (10) $200 contributions, Commissioner Charles Hines (10) $ 200 contributions.  All of these listed with a 14400 Covenant Way, Lakewood Ranch address.

Gary Kompothecras gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (10) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (8) $200 contributions, Commissioner Joe Barbetta (16) $200 contributions. All of these listed with a 4054 Sawyer Road, Sarasota address.

Pat Neal gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (10) $200 contributions, former Commissioner Nora Patterson (10) $200 contributions, Commissioner Joe Barbetta (19) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (14) $200 contributions, Commissioner Charles Hines (7) $200 contributions. All these listed with an 8210 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch address.

Carlos Beruff gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (24) $200 contributions, former Commissioner Nora Patterson (13) $200 contributions, Commissioner Joe Barbetta (5) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (22) $200 contributions. All of these listed with a 2212 58th Avenue East, Bradenton address.

Henry Rodriguez gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (6) $200 contributions, former Commissioner Nora Patterson (5) $200 contributions; Commissioner Joe Barbetta (5) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (5) $200 contributions. All of these entities listed at various Rodriguez residences and offices.

Randy Benderson gave Commissioner Carolyn Mason (6) $200 contributions, Commissioner Joe Barbetta (19) $200 contributions, Commissioner Christine Robinson (5) $200 contributions. All of these listed with a 7978 Cooper Creek, Sarasota address.

Benderson with the same Buffalo, New York address of 570 Delaware Avenue funneled (10) $200 contributions from various Randy Benderson controlled LLC’s into Sarasota County Commissioner Al Maio’s campaign. In addition, Randy Benderson, Shaun Benderson, Loni Benderson and Gina Benderson each gave a $200 campaign contribution with a 570 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York address to Maio’s 2014 campaign for Sarasota County Commissioner. 

GODFATHER Neal, using a Lakewood Ranch address at 5800 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, funneled (14) $200 contributions into the Al Maio’s 2014 campaign for the Sarasota County Commission. 

Rex Jensen, using a Lakewood Ranch address at 14400 Convenent Way,  funneled (9) $200 contributions into the Maio 2014 campaign,  and Henry Rodriguez using four different addresses funneled (4) $200 contributions into the Al Maio’s 2014 campaign.

NEFARIOUS TYPE OPERATIONS

Neal and his cronies control every aspect of political activity, including law enforcement officials, judges, county commissioners and every other local political entity all the way down to local charter review members. Neal and his select group of selfish, self seeking multimillion dollar developers operate a local political organization, whose self proclaimed partisan political views are a farce.  They’re making $millions in profits by turning the Sarasota/Manatee area into major urban sprawl in a manner that borders on the criminal.
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