Campaign finance reports detail backing for District 2 candidates in Sarasota City Commission race

Patterson, Hyde and Wells have put most of the funds into their campaigns, reports show

City Hall is located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota. Three City Commission seats are up for election this year. File photo

In the largest field for a Sarasota City Commission seat this year — the District 2 race — Don Patterson holds the fundraising lead, as shown in campaign finance reports filed through June.

Having filed for the seat on June 3, Patterson reported a total of $50,000 in contributions and $13,943.37 in expenditures by the end of June. Yet, all of Patterson’s money came from a personal loan he made to his campaign, his financial report shows.

Don Patterson. Image from his campaign page on Facebook

Patterson’s campaign webpage says he is a third-generation Floridian and a business professional “with a successful career in the telecomm industry.” He is co-founder of Ascend Wireless Networks, the website notes, adding that under his leadership, “Ascend has become one of Florida’s most successful and profitable businesses, serving some of the nation’s leading wireless providers.”

A city commissioner from 2009 to 2013 who was known for his financial expertise, Terry Turner reported total contributions of $29,598.12 through June, with expenses of $8,383.21. He filed for the race on Oct. 11, 2019, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections website says.

Incumbent Liz Alpert, a family law attorney who filed for re-election on Dec. 4, 2019, had pulled in $20,195 through June. However, $1,500 of that came in the form of a loan she made to the campaign. Her total expenditures listed in her latest report add up to $12,964.20.

Martin Hyde, the president of Gulf Business Systems who unsuccessfully ran for the City Commission in 2016, announced his campaign on Oct. 18, 2019. Since then, he has raised $19,900 and spent $15,186.89, his June financial report says. However, $18,500 of his funding has come in the form of loans he has made to the campaign. The first — for $5,000 — is noted in his initial report, filed for October 2019.

On June 4, he recorded a $5,000 loan, followed by a $3,000 loan on June 18 and a $4,000 loan on June 24. Hyde also reported loans of $750 in his April and May reports.

His last report — for June — also lists payments totaling $2,245 to seven individuals for “time spent helping the campaign.”

Former Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta — an attorney who stepped down from that board in 2014 because of term limits — had a total of $15,228.80 through June, his report shows. His expenditures totaled $2,604.80.

Barbetta figuratively threw his hat into the ring on June 5.

Finally, Jerry Wells, who entered the race on Oct. 10, 2019, reported total contributions of $11,864.99 through June, along with expenditures of $11,414.42.

Wells’ campaign website says he worked with Goldman Sachs from 1981 to 1984. It adds that he was a founding partner of both Power Trading and Hunter Capital. He has lived in Sarasota for more than 30 years, the website notes.

Alpert’s campaign finance report details

Commissioner Liz Alpert. Image from her campaign website

In her first report — for December 2019 — incumbent Alpert listed a $100 loan to her campaign. She gave the campaign another $500 in January, that month’s report shows. However, she returned the latter funds to herself in April, that campaign finance report says.

In February, four members of the Meshad family gave her a total of $800, that report shows. Gavin Meshad, secretary of the St. Armands Business Improvement District board, was among them. All the others in the family named on the report — Jennifer, John and Elaine Meshad — listed a variation on real estate interests in the “Occupation” category.

Alpert also received $200 from Troy Syprett, one of the owners of the Daiquiri Deck restaurants. Syprett and Gavin Meshad unsuccessfully sought to redevelop the Lido Pavilion and Pool, in an agreement with the City of Sarasota. They finally withdrew their proposal early in 2019 after hundreds of residents complained that their plans— including expansion of the restaurant and addition of a bar — would lead to parking and late-night noise problems in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In March, Alpert received $200 from land-use attorney Charles D. Bailey III of the Williams Parker firm in Sarasota, as well as $200 from Bailey’s wife, Crystal. Altogether, Alpert had 20 contributions listed in that report, with $25 each from eight of those supporters.

One of her biggest expenditures to date also was in that March report. It was $2,200 to Seth Mininsohn of Osprey for consulting work. Alpert paid him another $2,200 in April and $416 in June, those records show.

In March, she also listed a $450 expenditure for consulting that went to Grossman Public Relations Counselors in Sarasota. A second $450 payment was made to Grossman in April, that month’s report notes, with a third $450 payment noted in the May report.

The May report also listed a total of $1,200 in consulting expenditures to Minat Strategies LLC in Osprey.

In Alpert’s June report, Ron Soto, owner of Soto’s Optical Boutique in downtown Sarasota and leader of the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, is listed among the contributors who gave her $200. Alex Sink, the former chief financial officer for the state who was the 2010 Democratic candidate for governor, also contributed $200, while Rita Ferrandino, past chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party, gave Alpert $100.

Other contributors were attorney David M. Shapiro; Joel Freedman, who provides consulting on land development projects; Realtor Ian Black; and Teri Hansen, president and CEO of the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.

In April, A.G. Lafley, founding CEO of the Bay Park Conservancy — who has worked with the City Commission to create The Bay public park and arts and cultural events venue on about 53 acres of city waterfront property — was among Alpert’s contributors in June. Alpert is a member of the Conservancy’s board, representing the city. Others on that contribution list were Sarasota County School Board member Shirley Brown; Brenda Patten, an attorney who handles land development issues; and Roger Barry, a retired University of Cincinnati professor who has been a staunch advocate for roundabouts in the community.

Among Alpert’s contributors listed in her May report were former City Commissioner Ken Shelin; attorney Charlie Ann Syprett; Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens; Dr. Mark Kauffman, a long-time developer and a member of the city’s Downtown Improvement District board for many years; and Christine Jennings, another past chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party.

Turner’s reports

Terry Turner. Image from his 2020 campaign

Terry Turner’s June report listed a total of 29 monetary contributions, which ranged from $10 to the maximum of $200. Among those who gave funds to his campaign that month was former City Commissioner Susan Chapman, who contributed $50.

In his very first report, which covered the month of October 2019, Turner listed $5,673.12 in funds, all of which he loaned to the campaign.

Among Turner’s contributors in December 2019 was former City and County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who gave him $200.

Turner’s January report listed contributions from attorney Dan Lobeck, who also is chair of the nonprofit Control Growth Now ($200); developer and real estate investor Dr. Mark Kauffman ($200); former Planning Board chair and City Commissioner Eileen Normile ($200); and Sarah Pappas, president emeritus of the State College of Florida ($200).

In February, Turner’s contributors included Wade Matthews, past conservation chair for the Sarasota Audubon Society; Geraldine Swormstedt, long-time leader of the Manatee-Sarasota Florida Chapter of the National Sierra Club, which has endorsed Turner; and Kathy Kelley Ohlrich, past president of the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations.

In February, Turner also reported a $250 loan to his campaign in the February report.

In March, when Turner had 34 individual contributions, the report shows $200 from former City Commissioner Richard Clapp, $200 from attorney John Patterson, and $200 from former Sarasota County Administrator John Wesley White.

That March report also listed one of Turner’s biggest expenses thus far: $1,169.51 to Sun Graphic Technologies of Sarasota for printing. Further, the campaign paid $1,354.35 to Street Smartz of Jacksonville for photos.

Among his May contributions, Turner received $100 from former City Commissioner and Mayor Mollie Cardamone; $100 from Jono Miller, retired director of the Environmental Studies Program at New College of Florida; $100 from past Sarasota Democratic Party Chair Christine Jennings; and $200 from Hugh Fiore, a past president and a member of the board of the St. Armands Residents Association.

That report counted 26 individual contributors.

Barbetta’s report for June

Joe Barbetta. Image from his 2020 campaign Facebook page

In his solitary finance report to-date, Joe Barbetta listed former City and County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and former City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell among his contributors, with $200 from each.

Additionally, he received a $200 check apiece from entrepreneur Jesse Biter and Biter’s wife, Katie; $200 from Todd Mathes, director of development for Benderson Development Co.; $200 from paralegal Michael Barfield; $200 from Gilbane Building Co. executive Michael Beaumier; $200 from architect Chris Gallagher; $200 from developer Dr. Mark Kauffman; $200 from former state Sen. Pat Neal, whose firm Neal Communities has created residential communities in Sarasota and Manatee counties; $200 each from former Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent and Dent’s husband, John; $200 from real estate developer Charles Githler; $200 from former state Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton; $200 from Angus Rogers, whose company built the Art Ovation Hotel in downtown Sarasota; $200 from Cathy Layton, a retired commercial real estate broker who is chair of the Bay Park Conservancy board; $200 each from sports personality Dick Vitale and Vitale’s wife, Lorraine; $200 from Robert Waechter of Siesta Key, who most recently was in the news for the map he contributed during the County Commission’s redistricting initiative in 2019; $200 from Realtor Ian Black; $200 from land-use attorney Charles D. Bailey III; $200 from county Planning Commission member Teresa Mast; $200 each from attorney Ron Shapo, chair of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) board, and Shapo’s wife; and $100 from Todd Sweet, a principal of the Sweet Sparkman architectural firm, which has built award-winning structures under contracts with Sarasota County.

Altogether, Barbetta listed 101 contributors that month.

The biggest expense Barbetta has reported was a payment of $1,195.32 to Andrick & Associates of Sarasota for mailers and postage.

Hyde’s campaign reports

Martin Hyde. Image from his 2020 campaign

With no funds or expenses to report in November or December 2019, or in January, Martin Hyde’s first contributions from other people showed up in his February report. For that month, he recorded a total of $290, with $200 of that from retiree Jose R. Fernandez, who often joins Hyde in criticizing Sarasota City Commission actions in person during meetings. (A room at City Hall is used for members of the public to address the board members via remote meeting technology.)

In March, Hyde received no contributions. A month later, he reported $285, plus another loan — $750.

His April expenditures included $750 to Facebook for online marketing.

Then, in May, Hyde loaned another $750 to his campaign.

He took in $450 in other contributions that month, while his expenditures added up to $2,529.38. Among the latter, he paid $772.15 for “yard signs” to a company called Crazy Cheap Political Signs; $506.06 to Good Guys Signs in Tampa for “large yard signs”; $750 to Facebook for online marketing; and $318.25 to Andrick & Associates of Sarasota for “door hangers.”

Wells’ campaign finances

Jerry Wells. Image from his 2020 campaign website

As for candidate Jerry Wells: His contributions through June include a $500 loan he made to his campaign on June 8. Only four other contributors were listed in that June report. Among them was Cindy Shoffstall, wife of Carl Shoffstall, who is president of the Lido Key Residents Association.

In his first report — for October 2019 — Wells listed 13 contributions ranging from $10 to $200.

He added another seven in November 2019, with each at the maximum of $200.

Among expenses that month were $113.48 to Vista Print in Massachusetts for campaign postcards, plus $108.76 for campaign T-shirts and advertising materials.

In December 2019, Wells paid $1,000 to a San Jose, Calif., firm for campaign consulting and a total of $1,100 to the United States Postal Service for stamps.

He loaned his campaign $1,000 that month and took in $725 in other contributions, that report says. In January, he loaned the campaign another $1,000, according to that report. His only other contribution that month was $50 from a woman identified as a retiree.

Wells also paid another $1,000 in January to the San Jose firm for consulting, and he spent $200 for media training provided by former ABC7 anchor Ray Collins, who is a Realtor.

In February, Wells took in $425 in monetary contributions and spent another $200 with Ray Collins and $1,100 more with the San Jose firm.

His March report lists another $2,000 in loans to the campaign, along with $786 from a total of eight people. The smallest of those was $36 from another woman identified as a retiree.

That month, Wells reported an expenditure of $1,290.85 to the San Jose firm for campaign materials, plus $1,500 to the same company for campaign consulting, based on a Sarasota News Leader reviews of the addresses provided. He also spent $200 more for Ray Collins’ assistance.

In April, Wells took in $200 from a couple on St. Armands and loaned his campaign another $700. Wells also spent $300 that month on Facebook ads.

His May report shows yet another campaign loan — this one for $300. He received $350 in other contributions and listed $1,103.27 in expenditures, including another $200 with Collins, that report shows. Additionally, Wells reported a $785 payment that month to a Houston firm for campaign yard signs.

Patterson’s expenses

In his solitary campaign report, for June, Don Patterson reported several five-figure expenses. Among them, he paid $4,000 to Frank DiCicco, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for County Commission in 2016, for managing the campaign; $5,000 for office rent; $2,729.72 to KAJ Consults of Sarasota for web development and consulting services; and $1,201.63 to Good Guys Signs in Tampa.

2 thoughts on “Campaign finance reports detail backing for District 2 candidates in Sarasota City Commission race”

  1. He hired Frank DiCicco to run his campaign? Why would you hire a guy who tried a single campaign, and lost? That alone puts his judgement in question.

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