Saturday, March 12, 2005


Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, his campaign manager Patti Sharpe, activist/retired businessman/volunteer for the Orange County Voters League Ezzie Thomas, and Circuit Judge Alan Apte were indicted Friday for paying or receiving payment for collecting absentee ballots in violation of Florida Statute 104.047. Almost immediately after the indictments were announced, Jeb! suspended Dyer from his mayoral duties. Mayor Pro-Tem Ernest Page --- who himself served eight months in jail for grand theft while a member of the City Council in 1983 --- has assumed the office on a temporary basis.

Thomas, who has been a paid consultant for a number of local candidates who have sought a boost in predominately African-American areas of Orlando and Orange County...including now-U.S. Senator Mel Martinez during his campaign for Orange County Chairman and now-Secretary of State Glenda Hood when she ran for mayor. Although he was indicted by the grand jury for allegedly receiving payment for gathering absentee ballots, he has reportedly been offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for his assistance with the investigation and related testimony.

Judge Apte allegedly gave Thomas $5,000 in 2002 to collect absentee ballots. He has been removed from the cases he was overseeing.

This smells terribly of a partisan political attempt to eliminate a powerful opposition officeholder in Central Florida by any means necessary. From the appointment by Jeb! of Republican State Attorney Brad King of Ocala to oversee this investigation, to the failure of anyone to even investigate those Republicans (read: Martinez and Hood) who likely used the exact same tactics through Mr. Thomas in their own campaigns, the stench of this reaches all the way to the Governor's Mansion and is, frankly, sickening.

To his credit, Dyer has come out swinging through a statement Friday afternoon. Good luck!

Needless to say, Republicans are celebrating. I was listening to right-wing apologist Lynne Breidenbach Friday afternoon, and she was quite gleefull at the news She constantly said, "...And did I mention that he was the DEMOCRATIC mayor of Orlando!?!?", and "I like it when the Democrats get caught with their hands in the cookie jar."...convicting the mayor only hours after he surrendered to authorities. Maybe Mrs. Breidenbach, the former PR hack for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, needs a reminder in Civics 101, as she seems to forget that anyone must be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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