Mast amasses $114,450 through first two months of campaign for District 1 County Commission race

District 3 candidate reports no contributions in first report to Supervisor of Elections OfficeFormer Sarasota County Planning Commission member and construction business owner Teresa Mast continues to far outpace her fellow candidates in the 2024 campaign for the County Commission District 1 seat, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.

After bringing in a total of $46,100 in January, as noted in her first financial report to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office, she added $114,450 in February. That results in a two-month total of $160,600.

Her latest report also shows that she had spent only $1,155.06 through Feb. 28.

In comparison, former Florida House member and past county Commissioner Ray Pilon had received a total of $1,675 in monetary contributions through the end of February. As the News Leader noted last month, Pilon loaned his campaign $1,000 of that amount.

He added $675 last month, plus $42.37 in in-kind contributions, his latest report shows.

Through February, Pilon had spent $403.96.

The third District 1 candidate — Les Nichols — reported taking in $2,050 in monetary contributions in February, bringing his two-month total to $3,550, his latest report says. The News Leader pointed out last month that Nichols had loaned his campaign $500. He gave the campaign another $300 in February.

Nichols had spent a total of $214.51 through February.

All three of the District 1 candidates are Republicans who live in Sarasota.

The only District 3 candidate so far — Republican Gregory Wood of Venice — filed a waiver of report for February. Formally, the document points out that he did not have any financial campaign activities for the month.

Mast’s latest campaign finance details

A News Leader review of Mast’s February documentation found a total of 179 contributions. As in the case of her initial report, reflecting funds she received in January, she reported numerous $1,000 contributions. That amount is the maximum allowed under state law.

Among the individuals and companies who gave her $1,000 apiece were William Conerly, vice president and senior project manager at the Kimley-Horn consulting firm; Conley Buick GMC in Bradenton; Realtor Paul Dupuis of Sarasota; Impact Landscaping and Irrigation of Sarasota; Frank John LaCivita of Willis Smith Construction in Sarasota; Prosser Painting of Parrish; the Pulte Group of Atlanta, a home construction company, and its vice president of land acquisition and development, Thomas Woolery of Bradenton; Vandon Inc. in Lakewood Ranch, whose president is Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, plus Baugh herself and her husband, Donald; Mike Armstrong Landscaping of Palmetto; both land-use attorney William Merrill III of Sarasota, and his wife, Karen; Robert Waechter of Siesta Key, former chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota County; Ajax Paving Industries of North Venice; Sarasota Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Sarasota Toyota; and the Friends of Tommy Gregory Political Action Committee (PAC). A Republican, Gregory is a member of the Florida House; until the 2022 redistricting, following the release of the 2020 Census data, Gregory was a member of the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation.

‘Bundling’ aplenty

Numerous examples of the bundling of contributions also show up in Mast’s February documentation, as they did in her January report:

  • B Squared Engineering LLC of Sarasota; East River Ranch 1400 LLC in Sarasota; Charlie Michaels Inc. of Sarasota, a real estate firm; Land Experts Inc. of Sarasota; Medallion Homes Gulf Coast Inc.; Sumter LLC; Verna Road 132 LLC; WCP Builder LLC; Trans-United Development Corp. of Sarasota; and I-75 Office Park LLC, all of which are associated with developer Carlos Beruff — $10,000.
  • Political action committees (PACs) controlled by Marc Reichelderfer, president of Landmarc Strategies Inc. and a lobbyist: A Bold Florida Future, Americans for Liberty and Prosperity, Conservatism Counts, Fight for Florida, Florida First Initiative, Florida Strong, Floridians for Liberty and Prosperity, Good Government for Florida, Leading for Our Future, and Sun Coast Alliance — $10,000.
  • Benderson Development Co. LLC and affiliates Benderson 85-1 Trust, 9395 CH LLC, Cypress Woods Associates LLC, Promenade Associates LP, RB-3 Associates, SIPOC LLC, and Anna Maria Associates LP in Buffalo, N.Y. — $8,000.
  • Companies associated with Siesta Key businessman and chiropractor Dr. Gary Kompothecras — Captiva Resort LLC, CCSK Management Account, Siesta Inn & Suites Inc., So Staged Event Rentals LLC, and Siesta Acquisitions LLC — $5,000.
  • The Barrington Group, a property management firm in Sarasota; BGI Partners Holdings LLC; BSM Fund SRQ LLC; and Floridian Venice LLC, — all associated with Barrington group President Larry Lieberman — plus the Larry P. Lieberman Family Trust — $5,000.
  • Genesis Planning and Development in Bradenton, which serves as an agent for developers, with Robert “Bo” Medred as the president; Genesispd Family LLC; Robert Medred; the Gina Medred Revocable Living Trust — $4,000.
  • Bee Lovely Farms LLC and LW Commercial LLC, both of Sarasota, whose manager is Caroline Wetherington of Lee Wetherington Homes; and Wetherington herself — $3,000. Lee Wetherington Homes contributed $200.
  • Florida Asphalt Contractors, Ripa & Associates LLC and Ripa Equipment LLC, all of Tampa, all associated with Frank Ripa, who has more than “50 years of experience in the utility and construction industry,” according to the Ripa Construction website — $3,000.
  • Three entities associated with Dave Balot, the part owner of Siesta Key Beach Resort and Suites who plans to build a 100-plus-room hotel on Siesta Key: SKBV LLC, SKBV Management LLC, and SKRS LLC — $3,000.
  • The Boone, Boone & Boone law firm in Venice, which often has represented developers planning projects in South County, plus attorneys with that firm: Jeffrey Boone, Stephen Boone and Jackson Boone — $2,000.

Mast also received contributions from present and past elected officials and political appointees in the county: Sheriff Kurt Hoffman ($500); former Sheriff Tom Knight ($150); county Commissioner Joseph Neunder ($250); Karen Rushing, clerk of the Circuit Court and county comptroller ($100); Ed Brodsky, state attorney for the 12th Judicial District ($100); Planning Commissioners Neil Rainford ($500), Justin Taylor ($200), Colin Pember ($200) and Jordan Keller ($100); former Planning Commission member Paul Bispham ($1,000); and former county Commissioner Joe Barbetta ($200).

In regard to Mast’s expenses in her latest report, the largest — $400 — went to the Robinson Gruters & Roberts CPA firm in Venice. (The Robinson in that firm is Eric Robinson, former chair of the county Republican Party and a former School Board member.) She also paid $100 to Webelect in Tampa for finance software, the report shows. The rest of her payments went to Anedot of Baton Rouge, La., for credit card processing fees.

Pilon’s and Nichols’ reports

In his February campaign finance report, Nichols listed seven contributions — besides his — ranging from $50 to $500.

Both Jeff Dieter, vice president at Truist Bank in Bradenton, and Luke Davis of Bradenton, who is listed as a “business owner,” gave Nichols $500.

Only two of the contributors in the report lives in Sarasota County — one in the city of Sarasota and one on Longboat Key.

The only expense Nichols listed was $59.24 paid to Gulfside Bank in Sarasota for “autobooks web [payments].”

In Pilon’s February report, he listed five monetary contributions ranging from $5 to $500. The latter amount came from Bradenton attorney Bernard Walsh.

Pilon also noted two in-kind payments that he made during the month: $13.38 for name badges and $28.99 for web hosting services.

His largest expense in February was $280, paid to KAJ Consults LLC of Sarasota for the design of graphics. His other two payments went to PayPal for processing fees.