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Crotty Accused Of Paying Ballot Broker

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Crotty Accused Of Paying Ballot Broker

Criminal Complaint Filed Tuesday

POSTED: 3:09 pm EDT April 5, 2005

UPDATED: 6:32 pm EDT April 5, 2005

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty is accused of the same elections violations that landed Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in jail, according to a Local 6 News report.

Republican party member Charlie Klein filed a criminal complaint Tuesday alleging Crotty (pictured, left) paid a ballot broker to collect absentee votes.

The complaint alleges that Crotty had direct knowledge that his campaign hired Ezzie Thomas to collect the votes for the Mobility 20/20 campaign. The failed initiative was a push by Orange County to raise taxes to improve transportation in Central Florida.

Public records obtained by Local 6 show the Mobility 20/20 campaign paid Thomas a total of $11,500 in 2003.

Thomas was indicted and charged with elections violations for allegedly collecting absentee votes for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Dyer was also indicted for allegedly paying Thomas for work he did on his campaign.

A spokesperson for Crotty said the mayor was not available for comment Tuesday.

However, in a written statement Crotty said he has campaigned for several causes, and, "I had absolutely nothing to do with the nuts and bolts operation of any of those campaigns. Any inference to the contrary is nothing more than political garbage and people should consider the source."

The complaint filed at the Orange County Sheriff's Office will be forwarded to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a complete investigation.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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will he be indicted for these charges? i think not.

part of double-standard, partisan politics now common in the state of florida.

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Ah yes, Republicans = Evil Dirty Tricksters; Democrats = Virtuous Angels Above The Partisan Fray

:lol:

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did i single out the republicans? both sides are guilty. and believe me, while i support dyer outright & hope he gets equitted, he's definately got a shady side to him as well. It's just that since republicans rigth now are the majority, we're seeing it more with them.

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I personally hope Crotty gets held to this as well, I think he sucks.

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Tax activist wants probe of Mobility 20/20 vote

By Jason Garcia and Mark Schlueb | Sentinel Staff Writers

Posted April 6, 2005

Another complaint of potential election-law violations, similar to the allegations that led to suspended Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's indictment last month, is headed to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement -- this time focused on Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty.

A retired airline employee asked the Orange County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday to examine Crotty's role in the Mobility 20/20 campaign, the unsuccessful 2003 referendum to raise Orange County's sales tax by a half-cent to pay for transportation improvements.

Belle Isle resident Charlie Klein, 70, wants investigators to probe $11,500 in payments that Mobility 20/20 made to political consultant Ezzie Thomas. Thomas is the man at the center of the charges against Dyer. Prosecutors say Dyer's campaign paid him to collect absentee ballots, a practice prohibited by state law.

A Sheriff's Office spokesman said the agency would forward Klein's statement to FDLE, which investigated Dyer's case.

Crotty called the complaint "political garbage."

Dyer, his campaign manager Patti Sharp and Circuit Judge Alan Apte, whose campaigns also paid Thomas, were indicted March 10. Thomas also was indicted on charges of accepting payment to collect absentee ballots.

Mobility 20/20 is one of a handful of local campaigns that have used Thomas in recent years, including those of former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, now Florida's secretary of state, and former County Chairman Mel Martinez, now one of Florida's two U.S. senators. Crotty was closely associated with the campaign for the increase in the sales tax.

"I'm curious as to why Ezzie Thomas got paid $11,500. Who paid him and what was the purpose of it?" Klein said. "It didn't really go over when they did the Dyer thing."

In a statement, Crotty pointed out that he has campaigned for several high-profile candidates and causes -- including President Bush and a successful referendum to raise the sales tax for school construction -- in addition to Mobility 20/20.

"I had absolutely nothing to do with the nuts-and-bolts operation of any of those campaigns," Crotty said. "Any inference to the contrary is nothing more than political garbage, and people should consider the source."

"To my knowledge, I've never met Ezzie Thomas," Crotty added in an interview.

Klein, who runs a Web site denouncing the Internal Revenue Service, is a close ally of political consultant Doug Guetzloe. Guetzloe lost to Crotty in a 1990 state Senate election and was the chief opponent of Mobility 20/20.

An FDLE spokesman would not comment, saying the agency had not yet received the complaint.

Jason Garcia can be reached at 407-420-5198

or jrgarcia@orlandosentinel.com.

Mark Schlueb can be reached at 407-420-5417

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"I had absolutely nothing to do with the nuts-and-bolts operation of any of those campaigns," Crotty said. "Any inference to the contrary is nothing more than political garbage, and people should consider the source."

Interesting, already trying to distance himself from the campaign. Something must be wrong. :blink:

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"I had absolutely nothing to do with the nuts-and-bolts operation of any of those campaigns," Crotty said. "Any inference to the contrary is nothing more than political garbage, and people should consider the source."

I think we've heard that before.

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So it seems that some of you who were end-justifies-the-means people (as regards downtown development) have now become 'equal justice' people. ;)

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So it seems that some of you who were end-justifies-the-means people (as regards downtown development) have now become 'equal justice' people.  ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Then if you look at Crotty's ends ... it certanly didn't justify the means.

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^ So now we're back to blunt partisanship.

I think I'm getting the hang of this game.

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So it seems that some of you who were end-justifies-the-means people (as regards downtown development) have now become 'equal justice' people. 

Ive never believed, "ends justify the means" I do believe that dyer leaving office will hurt downtown development which I may be wrong, it was just a prediction. In fact I believe Dyer should be charged if he commited anything wrongful accused of him. As I said "equal justice for all" because thats what I believe.correct me if Im wrong, I dont believe I was one that ever said differently.

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^I feel the same way, further, Crotty out of office may actually get Orlando on track. He is a hinder to the success of the city, always working for his own agenda.

I will be the first to say however that I would rather have Dyer (and his shadiness) in office, than Crotty (and his shadiness). At least he has the best interest of the city at hand.

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Actually, I believe in equal justice and as such I'd like to see the campaigns of Hood, Martinez and possibly others investigated too regardless of party.

My tongue in cheek remark referring to your end vs means remark may just be the nature of the city vs county beast. Since both governments get more money from growth and since the county by definition is trying to grow outside the city and the city by definition is trying to grow inside the city (duh) there is a conflict ... one is pro-spawl by nature and one isn't.

In this situation (and not necessarily as a result of their party) the Republican falls into the "grow the burbs" catagory and the Democrat is in the "grow the core" catagory. So if one were to look at the ends (not saying they should) I think "grow the core" is better than"grow the burbs."

This is after all UrbanPlanet not SuburbanPlanet.

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^ Very witty. Although I don't understand why we must choose the core over the county. Let's do both (without the midnight bulldozers).

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^ I might argue the point, but that would amount to a protracted discussion.

I do agree with a strong DT. And I don't agree with predictions that DT will suffer without Dyer.

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^protecting the environment might be one reason.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

traffic congestion might be another reason but it can be easily mitigated by EXPENSIVE road construction which can be easily paid for with HIGHER taxes, or we can continue sitting at traffic lights burning EXPENSIVE gasoline and so can the trucks that deliver our goods, but we can pay for that at the grocery store ... crisis?, what crisis?

... but look at all the tourism jobs ... hotel maids, fast food workers. Not that I have anything personally against these stuggling people, but at minimum wage they aren't able contribute much in the way of taxes that support the schools, and other services they use and thus the quality of these services are lowered for everyone. So when the county's money raising efforts (hotel taxes, etc) goes exclusively to promoting the expansion of a minimum wage industry ... it's pure evil ... and the only ones who benefit are the hotel owners ... at the expense of quality of life for most of the county residents (which includes the city residents).

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I don't have anything against user-fees, but I'd love to see the government get out of the education business altogether.

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