Clueless Perry Thurston Campaigning For Wrong Office

  Once again, Democrat Perry Thurston shows why he runs the worst political campaigns in Broward. First, REDBROWARD detailed Thurston’s violation of the Florida Constitution by living outside his Florida House District. His campaigns are repeatedly audited by the Florida Division of Elections. Last year, REDBROWARD exposed how Thurston paid family members with campaign funds. We thought we had seen it all from the Thurston campaign.

We were wrong.

This week, Thurston emailed invitations for a baseball themed fundraiser at a local Elks Lodge.  The “Thurston AAA Baseball Tournamet Kick Off Reception” is set for Thursday April 14 at 6PM. The email was paid for and approved by the Perry E. Thurston, Jr. Democrat for Attorney General campaign.

Just one problem: Perry Thurston is not running for Attorney General. He ran for that office in 2014. He lost badly.

He’s currently seeking the Florida State Senate District 33 seat. 

 

Perry Thurston Campaign Spends Money on Perry Thurston & His Family

courtesy SFLTimes.com
courtesy SFLTimes.com

According to State of Florida campaign records, Perry Thurston’s State Senate campaign spends most of its money on Perry Thurston and his family members. Facing term limits in the Florida House, Thurston has been running for the District 31 Senate seat since 2013. Thurston is running against fellow Democrat Fl. Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed.

According to the Florida Department of Elections, since January 2013, Thurston has raised nearly $55,000 for his State Senate campaign. Not surprisingly, as the minority leader of the Florida House, most of Thurston’s campaign contributions came from special interest groups and political action committees. As of August 2015, the Thurston campaign has spent $26,156.37 of his contributions.

The records show the overwhelming majority of the money was paid to Thurston and his wife Dawn. Since 2013, the campaign has paid $6,923.04 to Dawn Thurston. The campaign stated the expenditures were made for “canvassing,” “meals,” “campaign supplies,” “campaign expences [sic],” and “campaign expendatures [sic].” Since March 2015, Mrs. Thurston has received $5,071.61 from her husband’s campaign.

Campaign records show multiple payments to Perry Thurston, Floyd Thurston and Frances Merricks. In April 2013, this reporter exposed Perry Thurston’s residency games involving Frances Merricks’ Fort Lauderdale home. Thurston claimed to be living with a convicted felon in Merricks’ small home, rather than with his wife and children in the two-story home he owns in Plantation, in order to meet elected officials’ residency requirements in the Florida Constitution.

The Florida Constitution requires state legislators to live in the districts they represent. Thurston, a lawyer, represented House District 94. Broward County Property Appraiser records show Thurston, the Democratic Minority Leader of the Florida House of Representatives, owns a two-story home with Dawn Thurston in Plantation which lies in Florida House District 99.

Thurston’s 2012 campaign treasurer’s reports show he paid Frances Merricks $4,770 for “campaign headquarters rent.”  Thurston’s 2012 campaign headquarters was located at a Fort Lauderdale liquor store owned by Frances Merricks and Floyd Thurston.

Records show Thurston spent $6,165.74 on “other distributions.” Most of the expenses covered gas purchases and meals.

In stark contrast, Clarke-Reed has raised just $1,465 since joining the race in June. This amount includes a $1,000 loan to the campaign by Clarke-Reed. The rest of her contributions are small donations made by local supporters.

Why Is A Republican Judicial Candidate Paying Judy Stern, Chris Smith’s Mom & Joe Eggelletion’s Brother?

Broward Republicans wonder why tea party favorite Julio Gonzalez, Broward Circuit Court (Circuit 17 Group 45), is paying well-connected Democrats like Judy Stern, uber-lobbyist and salami sandwich doyenne, Helen Hinton, mother of Fl State Senator Chris Smith and Andre Eggelletion, brother of disgraced Broward Commissioner Joe Eggelletion.

Florida Division of Elections records show multiple payments by the Gonzalez campaign to Judith Stern Consulting. Back in February, Gonzalez paid Stern $337.75 for “postage reimbursement.” In April, he paid Stern $3,500 for “consulting”. An August 2012 payment of $2,000 was made for “community outreach.” Finally, on September 7, 2012 Gonzalez gave Judy $1,575 for “marketing.”

Even with Obama in office, $7,412.75 will buy you a lot of salami.

On August 13, 2012 Julio Gonzalez paid Helen Hinton $3,200 for “community outreach”.  Ms. Hinton, the mother of Fl State Senator Chris Smith, was the director of Ebony Strategies. Chris Smith, the incoming Democrat leader of the State Senate, is reviled by Florida Republicans. He is being challenged by newcomer Chris Smithmyer.

Ms. Hinton serves as the director of Friends of Act-So along with Yvette Du Bose, wife of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bobby Du Bose. Published reports indicate Commissioner Du Bose may have text conversations with Judy Stern during Commission meetings.

The Gonzalez campaign paid Andre Eggelletion $500 for “recording for radio.” Eggelletion, a controversial local radio DJ, is the brother of disgraced Broward Commissioner Joe Eggelletion. In 2009, Andre was pulled into the bribery investigation which lead to Joe Eggs spending nearly 2 years in prison. According to the South Florida Times, “State prosecutors are investigating to determine if local radio talk show host Andre Eggelletion may have accepted money on behalf of his brother from companies that had business before the county commission, according to sources. Prosecutors are seeking to determine what work Andre Eggelletion’s National Jingle Company performed for Prestige Homes of South Florida, Inc., and whether any of the money from the developer went to Josephus Eggelletion, possibly as a concealed bribe, sources said.” Andre Eggelletion was not charged.

Judy Stern, a staunch defender defender of Joe Eggelletion, was reportedly so angered by Broward State Attorney Mike Satz’s role in the Eggelletion prosecution that she backed his Democrat challenger in the August primary. Stern told the media “‘When someone has been there since 1976, I think we need a fresh approach to the operation.’”  Chris Mancini, Satz’s challenger, attempted to get Joe an early release from prison. Eggelletion was released in July.

In August Gonzalez paid $1,500 to “Duke of Earle” for a “radio spot.” Bevan Earle, a director for the inactive Duke of Earle Group, is no stranger to Broward politics. In 2008, he received thousands of dollars for “media” work on Scott Israel’s failed campaign for Broward Sheriff. Who ran Scott Israel’s 2008 campaign?

Yep, Judy Stern. Israel 2008 campaign records show payments of $20,300 to Stern.

Gonzalez is hoping his Republican and Tea Party support will carry him back to the Broward bench in November. However, some of his supporters are beginning to wonder if his paid campaign team, coupled with his employment at Rothstein, Rosenfeldt Adler will undermine his Republican support.