Pat Neal attempts to portray himself as a smooth, smiling, squeaky-clean local developer, and makes every effort to stay free of any type of scandal. Neal also attempts to operate behind the scenes controlling
the political process by using numerous, reprehensible political operatives to fraudulently finance and manage the campaigns of his handpicked candidates for local political offices. Unfortunately, for Neal his attempts to portray himself in the above fashion are beginning to unravel.
This is how the Neal political operation works: First of all, those seeking office in Sarasota or Manatee County need to establish Eric Robinson, a million-dollar CPA and husband of Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson, as the treasurer of their campaign. Robinson is a political operative who manages over 50 PACS which funnel thousands of dollars into the campaigns of Neal
Next to Slapp are the good ol’ boy members of the GCBX, local contractors making $millions$ off of Neal and his fellow $multi-million dollar developer cronies, Carlos Beruff, Rex Jensen, Randy Benderson and others.
When Neal, Slapp and other good ol’ boys want to get out of the sun on Main Street, they retreat to Sarasota County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo’s family run restaurant on Palm Avenue. Reportedly a Caragiulo family member once owned and operated a restaurant in East Strasburg, Pennsylvania which would close down for a few days when the good ol’ boys from New York and New Jersey needed a place to wine and dine.
Without Neal’s EndorsementIt is well known that if you want to be elected to a political office in Sarasota or Manatee County you need to make a trip to Pat Neal’s office in Lakewood Ranch to kiss Neal’s ring or get a kiss on the cheek, while one of two of Neal’s female assistant’s, Maryann Grgic or Ivory Crofoot take notes on the proceedings.
What is also well known is that if you desire to be elected as a judge in the 12th District Judicial Circuit you need the approval of a committee chaired by the Godfather, Pat Neal. In addition, the contact person for Neal’s Judicial Nominating Committee is Grgic.(SEE ATTACHMENT)
Neal is well-versed in strategizing the benefits of having two attractive young women associated with his political interests, especially Crofoot. The Godfather knows that having a soft female voice on the other end of a phone call, while asking for campaign contributions for his political allies, is an effective way to put the arm on his good ol’ boy donors.
Dudley recently left McElyea and moved to Washington D,C with former local attorney, Casey Colburn who divorced his wife and mother of his two young children in December to marry Dudley in March of this year. Dudley has taken a job with U.S Congressman Curt Clawson who exemplifies why Florida is called “Flora- duh.” (SEE ATTACHMENT)
A recent example of how the political process works under Neal occurred when Bob Wyatt made a visit to Neal’s office in Lakewood Ranch in late January of this year. Wyatt was seeking Neal’s approval to run for the Florida State Legislature out of local District 72. At the time it was thought that the incumbent, Ray Pilon might run for Nancy Detert’s State Senate seat if Detert chose to run for the Sarasota County Commissioner seat being vacated by term limited Christine Robinson.
At the meeting Grgic was sitting silently taking notes. After giving his presentation and answering Neal’s various questions, Neal told Wyatt that although he believed Wyatt could get his seal of approval along with that of his wife, Charlene, who is a fellow member with Wyatt on the Board of Trustees at the State College of Florida. Neal, however, unfortunately had to reserve his final approval.
He Will Just Change HimWhen Wyatt told Neal that Bentley was a Democrat, Neal essentially stated that this was not a problem, and he would just have Sarasota County Republican Chairman, Joe Gruters approach Bentley and have him turn Republican. When Bentley was asked about Neal’s high regard for him politically and Neal’s endorsement for political office, Bentley replied he was both “impressed and pleased” by Neal’s endorsement should he run for political office.
First of all, Bentley is a Democrat and not just your average voting Democrat. Bentley recruits Democrats to run for political office. Bentley is also the Democrat who criticized Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman for appointing Republicans to the Sarasota City Commission, which Bentley denies occurred.
What is also significant about Bentley’s relationship with Neal is that Bentley represented Rodriguez in the multi-million dollar lawsuit that Hugh Culverhouse Jr. pursued successfully against Rodriguez and Benderson, who are both Neal’s cronies.
Benderson pours hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into local, state and national political campaigns endorsed by Neal. No doubt Rodriguez and especially Benderson have received calls from Neal’s campaign finance solicitors Grgic, Crofoot, Dudley and McElyea. Rodriquesz has not been as generous as Benderson in stuffing money into Neal’s “selected” politicians.
The serious problem that Bentley was unable to make “go away” was that a six member jury awarded Culverhouse over $20 million as the result of being defrauded by Rodriguez and Randy Benderson in collusion with Sarasota County officials such as former Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley , Sarasota County Commissioners Nora Patterson, Shannon Staub and Joe Barbetta.
Neal and his local major contributors to Governor Scott’s political campaign need state funding, especially Benderson who is seeking $millions for his rowing park, and other Neal cronies like Beruff and Jensen who will need over $200 million to alleviate the traffic nightmare created by Neal and his fellow gangsters along the 1-75/University Parkway Corridor.
Unfortunately for Neal, the six member local jury essentially ruled that Culverhouse exposed the ugly underbelly of a corrupt Ley Administration, which revealed Sarasota County Commissioners in the pockets of a corrupt political operation controlled by Neal and his cronies.
It certainly would be Neal’s best interests for that decision to go away.
How can any reasonable person be shocked by Dubensky’s decision knowing that Dubensky is a product of a local judicial system that features Neal as the chairman of the committee that recommends judges to be appointed to the 12th Judicial Circuit.
Not long ago this outrageous statement appeared in the Bradenton Herald: “A panel headed by Neal has recently sent five nominees to Governor Rick Scott for a seat on the 12th Judicial Circuit.”
By the way the Susce’s have a legacy exposing those who corrupt the political system (SEE ATTACHMENT)
THE GODFATHER OF SARASOTA/MANATEE POLITICAL