Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dark Money in Sarasota's School Board Politics - Antunes

School Board Member Frank Kovach announced in April he will not run for reelection after 16 years of service. Kovach said the recent nonpartisan school board race was “corrupted by cash” and he expects the trend to continue. Former Sarasota GOP chair, Eric Robinson (husband of County Commissioner Christine Robinson), has expressed interest in running for the seat Kovach intends to vacate.
When Kovach first ran for school board in 2000, $10,000 for a campaign would have been a lot. Last fall’s race between Bridget Zeigler and Ken Marsh had each candidate raising over $51,000 and $72,000, respectively, with Zeigler getting additional support from a shadowy political action committee called Citizens Against Taxation. Eric Robinson was the PAC’s chair, treasurer and registered agent.
The Herald-Tribune reported last fall on difficulty tracing a major donor to the Citizens for Taxation PAC.  The donor in question, Phoenix Media, gave $45,000 to the PAC. Robinson refused to disclose who was behind Phoenix Media and the Zeigler PAC financed mailers, saying “donors don’t want to be identified.”  More...
Petition and Data backing up the story
There are significant concerns in the community regarding the ethics of Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson’s dual employment by the Argus Foundation.  Click here for a summary of the issue and petition, Robinson’s Conflict of Interest, Step Down From Argus or the County Commission:
Background information for this article:
Herald Tribune storie on dark money in 2014 school board race, click on links:
Wyoming Phoenix Media LLC state filing, click on link:
250 LLCs at 1621 Central Ave, Cheyenne WY (Phoenix Media address) click on link:
250 LLCs at 1620 Central Ave, Cheyenne WY (next door to Phoenix Media LLC address)  click for PDF

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