25 June 2005

It's the coverup, stupid!

Frankly, does anyone believe that a bunch of criminals breaking into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate Hotel was that big of a deal? No, not really. It was a crime, but not one worthy of bringing down a president who was probably not directly involved. Well, what about a president and an intern having a sexual affair? Also, not a big deal. CEOs at big corporations do that kind of thing on a regular basis.

In the first case, President Richard Nixon, who probably did not deserve to resign the presidency, did so because he had been caught in a lie. He had known of the Watergate break-in after the fact, but he said that he didn't. In the latter case, President Bill Clinton was also caught in a fib. He denied the affair, and then the blue dress surfaced. Fortunately for him, he was a teflon president and survived impeachment.

If there is one thing that any aspiring politician needs to learn, it is that if you screw up, admit it and move on. Don't lie about it and don't cover it up. Unfortunately, Scott Maddox never learned that lesson.

Maddox is on the ropes, and Democratic activists are already placing bets on whether his race for governor can continue. This week it surfaced that while Maddox served as chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, the party failed to pay federal payroll and social security taxes. Including penalties, the party owed the Internal Revenue Service in excess of $200,000 and was eventually hit with an IRS lien. A member of the Democratic National Committee also alleged that $900,000 may have been missing from the party's bank accounts.

Democratic activists are expressing feelings of betrayal, and many of the state's editorial boards are demanding that Maddox abort his candidacy for governor. The Maddox camp is hoping that the issue goes away and that their candidate survives this dustup. Afterall, the state party, with the help of the DNC, has paid the IRS all of the money it was owed, and it turns out that the allegation about the missing money was made by a political enemy of Maddox. So, the problem is gone, right? Not necessarily.

Earlier this week when the story of the IRS first surfaced, Maddox issued a statement through a campaign representative that he unaware of the party's problems with the IRS and that the lien came as a "total surprise." When confronted with this statement, current party chairman Karen Thurman refuted it, instead saying, "I have in my possession documents that say that [Scott Maddox] was informed about this, but I am not ready to release anything." Just as Nixon and Clinton discovered, it may be the coverup that does the most damage.

What did he know and when did he know it? These are the questions that Nixon and Clinton had to answer, and sadly so will Maddox. It just depends on who will do the asking. Maddox's opponents in the race for governor, Congressman Jim Davis and State Senator Rod Smith, are wisely dodging the issue. They realize that there's no point in rushing over to hit a guy when he's down on the ninth count. The media, however, needs to ask these questions. There have been critical editorials of Scott Maddox by the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Online Journal, Lakeland Ledger, Buddy Nevins, and Lucy Morgan, but most have avoided this issue. They are instead focused on the former chairman's competence, or lack of it. When they eventually turn to the issue that most voters care about when choosing their politicians, honesty and credibility, that may just be the final nail in Maddox's coffin.

The primary issues at hand, the IRS lien against the party for unpaid taxes and the alleged "lost" money, are serious, but may simply fade away. The biggest problem for Maddox, however, may become his credibility. If Thurman does in fact have documents showing that Maddox had prior knowledge of the party's delinquency with the IRS, he should probably start packing up the campaign office. Voters can forgive incompetence; they rarely forgive dishonesty. Just ask Dick Nixon and Bill Clinton.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, James.

4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

All of thes editorials are jumping the gun. Yeah, it's not the best situation, but money shortages are normal in a game where their is never enough. I urge you to consider the source fueling most of this speculation: Jon Ausman.

Who the fuck is Jon Ausman???? A no one. A DNC member who has no role in the party leadership and a grudge against Maddox.

The FDP will release information next week detailing how this is a whole lot of nothing and Maddox will move on, as he should.

It's sickening to see Democratic vultures circling one of their own. This is what this race will come down to, the old party guard, who is backing Davis and Smith who has done nothing but allow FLorida to fall firmly into Republican hands, and Maddox, the young visionary with a plan to TRY NEW THINGS and CHANGE how we have been operating thus far.

But hey, if you are happy where we are - with Florida full blown Red now and in the future, by all means, go ahead, and crucify Maddox for a few mistakes.

6:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy this Ausman is the enemy stuff. In fact, Ausman has done Maddox a great favor with the $900K missing claim. This claim of potentially missing money diverts attention away from the true problem of "Maddoxgate" -- that is the problem of not paying the taxes (and the question of when did the IRS notify the FDP of this problem) and getting a lien from the IRS. That is potentially the most damaging charge.

Anyway, here is Exhibit One of my case that Ausman really supports Maddox. Check this out from the April 30 Lakeland Ledger and see if this sounds like a man who's against Maddox:

... Jon Ausman, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a longtime state activist, said Maddox's ambition is a plus for the party.

"You want a person like that in the office because, what's that person's number one mission? Building a functioning, working party whose goal is to win an election, particularly for (Maddox), but for others as well," Ausman said. ...


7:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something on the Ausman/Maddox relationship to ponder from an old Tallahassee Democrat article from October 2004. It would appear that Ausman is the one who delivered the FDP chair to Maddox:

" ... Ausman, who was county chairman for about 20 years, is now a state committee member. Early last year, he engineered the ouster of former party chairman Bob Poe by making Maddox - then mayor of Tallahassee - county chief so he was eligible to succeed Poe, who resigned the state chairmanship after the party's 2002 losses. ..."

According to this article, it would appear that the Leon County Democrats slipped a bit under Maddox's term as County Party Chair:

"...Things have improved under Maddox - with four out of five mayoral victories in big cities, Betty Castor running strongly for the U.S. Senate and John Kerry in a tight race against the governor's brother - but Ausman is not happy about the party's status at the county level. The GOP's Ed DePuy easily won a county commission seat, Commissioner Tony Grippa won re-election and Tax Collector Doris Maloy has a tougher-than-expected re-election race on her hands. ..."

Here's the web page:


9:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony Scott Maddox has done pails in comparison to the outright corruptiopn Jeb Bush's years as Governor. The GOP has raped this state and the hard working taxpayers who need State Government to be more responsive. One person can do something about it, and yet you Democrats who like business as usual and go along to get along people like Rod Smith (who votes with the Republicans in the Senate more often than any other Democrat in the body) and crucify Scott. Think about it.

9:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon Ausman is getting his 15 minutes that he has craved for years out of the party problems. He makes me sick.

11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...


I think you missed an important part of the article. James said that the issues of the unpaid taxes and the missing money that was probably not really missing are not the real issues. It's the fact that Scott lied about not knowing about the IRS problems. I actually don't think the IRS and $900,000 are the biggest deal now. I feel like Scott was pulling our chain, and that is wrong. How can we support a candidate if we can't trust him?

Scott is a good candidate, but he is too power hungry. We need candidates that are going to fight for the party, not just for themselves.

If you didn't get the fact that this article was about Scott lying, you need to reread it.


12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Just as a few days ago, there were documents that said that there was $900,000 missing...

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Scott Maddox said he wasn't informed about it, and I believe him and will continue to do so until something comes out that proves, without a doubt, that he knew. I'm pretty sure that's how we still run things here...

12:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Nicole, For elected officials, it's guilty until proven innocent. Welcome to politics.

As for your statements, you and Elizabeth are missing the point of this blog. It kind of agrees with you by saying that the IRS thing and the $900,000 thing aren't the really bad issues. What is bad is that Maddox covered it up and lied about not knowing of the IRS problems?

Voters don't like it when their politicians lie to them. Just ask anyone who is mad with Bush for saying there were WMD in Iraq. This current dilemma is Scott Maddox's WMD moment.


1:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a clear sign a candidiate has major problems when that candidate's supporters have to pull out the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" to defend the candidate.

8:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that Thurman's quote regarding the "documents in her possession" is accurate in what it refers to - many of her comments have been taken out of context from the conference call.

Maddox was blindsided by this like everyone else.

If he really is as "power hungry" as you say, don't you think he'd know better than to make such a huge blantant mistake? He is smarter than that.

10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

No actually Maddox is so blinded by his hunger for power that this is exactly the kind of mistake he would make. He is actually the kind of guy who would believe that as long as he was out of the FDP by the time the IRS lien hit, he would be fine.

12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen Thurman wanted to release information that would basically help Maddox on Friday, involving the $900,000 dollar issue and so forth but she couldn't because they didn't have it all ready for the media.

They are holding a Press Conference with the media early next week, either Monday or Tuesday to finally put this issue to rest and IT WILL IN NO WAY be bad for Maddox. All $900,000 will be accounted for.

Lastly, it would suprise me if Thurman has documents that would imply that Maddox lied and moreover, it is highly unlikely that she will release those documents. She is taking a lot of critism from Democrats across this State about her critisms of Maddox and it could be implied that it was Maddox and others who helped her get elected as Chairwomen in the first place.

Maddox cancelled a Local DEC meeting that would have put Jeff Ryan in as Chairman of the LCDEC. At the time, Maddox was still local DEC chairman. That would have allowed Jeff Ryan to run for State Chairman. John Ausman supported Jeff Ryan for State Chairman but then Scott Maddox cancelled the meeting, as he should have, and Jeff Ryan was not eligible to run and that didn't make Mr. Ausman too happy. That left Karen Thurman and the current Vice-Chair, who then dropped out of the race when it was clear that Karen Thurman would have the support needed to be elected State Chairwomen.

12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

If the previous comment is correct and Karen Thurman is protecting Scott Maddox because she feels that she owes him for rigging the state chair election, then she is unfit to be the state chair. I don't believe that Karen Thurman is doing anything unethical and I think the Maddox supporter who said so is wrong.

Maddox supporters are complaining about Thurman's comments being to harsh, but I think they were not tough enough. Regardless of this week's press conference or what Melanie Hines discovers, the FDP is going to have major difficulties in raising money for 2006. Her tenure as state chair is doomed and that is due to Maddox. She needs to protect herself. Maddox is trying to throw her under the bus, and she needs to beat him to it. Be smart Karen!

1:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kartik said...

That would have allowed Jeff Ryan to run for State Chairman. John Ausman supported Jeff Ryan for State Chairman but then Scott Maddox cancelled the meeting, as he should have, and Jeff Ryan was not eligible to run and that didn't make Mr. Ausman too happy.

Why should Maddox have cancelled the meeting? All Ryan was trying to do was qualify for the chairmanship the same way Maddox had. What if Rick Eggers had cancelled the meeting prior to Maddox assuming the Leon County Chair? Maddox would have ineligible to run for state chair himself. I am not personaly advocating one position or another, but I do not understand the blatent double standard.

1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because Maddox was assured the position.... Jeff Ryan would have been a close vote and some members of the LCDEC, including myself, would have fought against allowing Jeff Ryan to become LCDEC Chairman. For me, I supported Karen Thurman and that would have been the reason for my objections.

There is a difference between doing it for someone who has enormous support by the committee or doing it for one person, Jon Ausman, so that he can get his candidate into the race.

1:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Wow! The last comment is amazing. Rigging elections is OK when your candidate is going to clearly win, but if the election was going to be competitive, we shouldn't rig elections.

This comment is very telling of the types of people that support Maddox. They are people, just like their candidate, who think breaking the rules is OK as long as you win.

Maddox is no different than Bush, except that Bush is much smarter!

1:58:00 PM  
Blogger RightDemocrat said...

Scott Maddox has done nothing but harm to the Florida Democratic Party. I hope that he will have the decency to withdraw from the Governor's race.

2:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Jeff... Learn what you are talking about before spreading accusations.

The comments on the DEC races have nothing to do with Maddox... but instead the Thurman/Ryan issue at the time.

Maddox was elected because Rick Eggers stepped down. Eggers resigned and Maddox took his place. It was as simple as that. Because Bob Poe was being forced out, many of Leon County Democrats wanted Maddox in the race. Eggers stepped down, and this past year endorsed a Republican for a County office, so his time was up anyway.

In this regard, Jon Ausman wanted Maddox to resign so that Ryan could get the chairman position because he didn't support Thurman. Maddox at the time wasn't a candidate for Governor or any Statewide race and thus, he didn't step down.

Plus, Mr. Ausman wanted a Special Meeting, outside of our normal meeting schedule. It was determined that wouldn't be fair and thus, we held our normally scheduled meeting. Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late to qualify.

NO Elections were rigged. Ryan had rarely participated in Leon County politics and more importantly, had been registered to vote in another county the previous election. He had NO connections to Leon County, other than leading the House Democrats in Fundraising, and yet, he wanted to be Leon County DEC Chair???

Learn what you are talking about.

4:28:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Maddox in 2006!

4:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff has his facts a little off, but the Maddox supporter above is incorrect. She obviously doesn't know the behind the scenes politics of the FDP chair election.

In 2002, Scott Maddox and Jon Ausman viciously attacked the current FDP chairman Bob Poe and forced him out of office. Poe had a difficult election in 2002 (he still did much better than Maddox in 2004), but Maddox wanted the state chairman position so he could run for Governor in 2006. Rick Eggers, the Leon County Dem Party Chairman, then resigned so Maddox would be eligible for the state chair position. (For those who may not understand, the Florida Democrats have an elitist rule in the party so only local chairs or committeemen/women can even run for the state chair position. Talk about a good ole boyz network!)

Jeff Ryan was running for the state chair position this spring, and Maddox had agreed to let Ryan take Ausman's state committeeman position so Ryan would be eligible to run for state chair. At the last minute, Maddox canceled the meeting where the switch was to take place because Maddox had made a behind-closed-doors deal to guarantee the state chair position to Karen Thurman.

Thurman would have probably beat Ryan in the election (and I was supporting her), but unfortunately, we'll never know. Maddox didn't rig the election, but he did single-handedly take out Thurman's only real challenger therefore handing her the election. Pretty close to rigging an election, I guess.

5:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be said that the way the state chair election was held should not be seen as a black mark on Thurman's record. She did everything by the rules, and she won the election. Maddox was the one who acted shady.

5:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do I feel like no one knows what they are talking about here? Are you even reading this conspiracy crap you are putting forth.

Thurman as acted biased since this began.

Maddox did not do anything wrong.

Ausman is a vile human.

Maddox is not dropping out.

End of story.

9:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight - you are saying that Thurman conspired with others to frame Maddox? You said that "Thurman has acted biased since this began." Is this the newest strategy by the Maddox team - attack Thurman? You Maddox people really are disgraceful!

10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pot boils over once again. This time it's the Leon Co. Democratic Party under Maddox. My question is: If Maddox didn't know about the fine, then who wrote the $10,500 check to Leon County?

Here's the top part of the story:

Democrats also owed the county
Leon County party forked over $10,500 fine last year
By Bill Cotterell

The Leon County Democratic Party paid a $10,500 fine for the late filing of its final 2004 campaign financial report - while Scott Maddox was its chairman - county officials said Monday.

Paige Carter-Smith, who succeeded Maddox as chairman of the county Democratic Executive Committee, said at an evening meeting she will ask for the resignation of Debra Griffin-Bruton as treasurer of the local unit. Griffin-Bruton, who did not attend the meeting at City Hall and could not be reached for comment, is the state party employee whom Maddox identified as the person who made the mistake that triggered an IRS lien against the state party.

The federal government froze the state party's bank account and demanded some $200,000 in back income tax and Social Security payments, interest and penalties from the Democrats. The incident has severely clouded the Maddox campaign for governor for the past week.

"Mayor Maddox had no knowledge of any late fees or fines," said Sallie Stohler, his campaign manager in Tallahassee. "We're as anxious to get to the bottom of this as you are." ...


6:29:00 AM  
Anonymous OUCH! said...

This one hurts, too:

More woes surface for gubernatorial hopeful
The state party didn't pay payroll and Social Security taxes while Scott Maddox was chairman.
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published June 28, 2005

During Scott Maddox's leadership, the Leon County Democratic Party paid a $10,500 fine.

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Maddox did not only preside over bookkeeping problems at the state Democratic Party. He oversaw them at the Leon County Democratic Party, too.

Maddox was chairman of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee in December when it paid a $10,500 fine to the county elections office for failing to file campaign reports on time. That's more than it reported spending in all of 2004.

Yet a few weeks later, Maddox signed a form saying the party had neither spent nor raised money in that period, records show.

It is a third-degree felony to knowingly certify false information on a campaign report. But Leon Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho is not investigating.

"That would be something for someone to contact the (state) elections commission with a complaint. We leave it to others to file those kinds of complaints," said Janet Olin, assistant supervisor of elections for Leon County, confirming that records indicate Maddox failed to report that the party paid the fine. ...

A receipt filed with the county shows the executive committee paid the fine Dec. 16. But the party's required campaign reports include no mention of the expense. In fact, Maddox signed a form dated Jan. 10 that the local party neither spent nor raised any money in the same period that records show it paid the fine. ...


6:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Palm Beach Post editorial board weighs in:

Democrats' party-pooper
Palm Beach Post Editorial

Monday, June 27, 2005

After seeing their books from when Scott Maddox was party chairman, Florida Democrats have to wonder why they should make him their candidate for governor.

A forensic accounting firm is trying to figure out why the party failed to pay nearly $200,000 in Social Security and payroll taxes during 2003. The IRS was so annoyed that it put a lien on the party's assets. Accountants also will try to determine whether more than $900,000 is actually missing from party bank accounts, or whether it's just sloppy bookkeeping.

The former chairman blames the IRS problem on mistakes made by an unnamed employee who believed the taxes had been paid. Mr. Maddox, who was Tallahassee's mayor and is one of three Democrats seeking the nomination, says the party isn't missing $900,000; there's a misunderstanding about how money was reported to elections officials. But ex-U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman, who replaced Mr. Maddox last month, says "internal controls" in the office were "absolutely, unequivocally the worst."

What about this suggests a public servant who is prepared to run the state?


6:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I know is that as the face of a Party it is your responsibility to make sure that things are being taken care of properly by your staff. If you can't even handle the books (or the staff that handles the books) for a small organization such as the Florida Democratic Party, how in the world are you going to be able to handle the entire state of Florida. Some people might say that he is innocent until proven guilty, but hey the facts stand on one thing....they didn't pay payroll taxes...coming from the party who supports raising taxes to fix all problems. Nice!

10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Palm Beach Post Editorial

Monday, June 27, 2005

After seeing their books from when Scott Maddox was party chairman, Florida Democrats have to wonder why they should make him their candidate for governor.

A forensic accounting firm is trying to figure out why the party failed to pay nearly $200,000 in Social Security and payroll taxes during 2003. The IRS was so annoyed that it put a lien on the party's assets. Accountants also will try to determine whether more than $900,000 is actually missing from party bank accounts, or whether it's just sloppy bookkeeping.

The former chairman blames the IRS problem on mistakes made by an unnamed employee who believed the taxes had been paid. Mr. Maddox, who was Tallahassee's mayor and is one of three Democrats seeking the nomination, says the party isn't missing $900,000; there's a misunderstanding about how money was reported to elections officials. But ex-U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman, who replaced Mr. Maddox last month, says "internal controls" in the office were "absolutely, unequivocally the worst."

What about this suggests a public servant who is prepared to run the state?

The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board

1:52:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...


Case closed.

8:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly. Nice try, though.

8:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Case back open.

There are some serious questions and concerns that may be raised by people who read these three stories from Tuesday's news.

Here are excerpts:


Maddox tardy with his taxes
He says bill sent to wrong address
By Bill Cotterell

The IRS tax levy that froze the Florida Democratic Party's bank account and triggered a forensic audit of the struggling party isn't the only tax trouble that has dogged Scott Maddox in his campaign for governor.

Maddox said Friday he paid $2,632.47 in overdue Leon County property taxes on an east-side home his company, Spectrum Resources, bought in 2002 from Debbie Griffin-Bruton, the Florida Democratic Party employee whose error led to the party's troubles with the IRS. Maddox said he paid the taxes Monday, after the Tallahassee Democrat asked him about it and other financial foul-ups during his tenure as chairman of both the state and Leon County Democratic parties. ...

... Courthouse records indicate Griffin-Bruton and her husband, John Bruton, sold their home to Spectrum Resources for $135,000 in the fall of 2002, when Maddox was mayor and she was financial director of the City Parks and Recreation Department. Knowing Bruton, a former city policeman, was suffering from Alzheimer's, Maddox said he allowed them to stay in the home for a token rent - which he said he waived completely last year when John Bruton went into long-term care.

Maddox said the Brutons were old friends of his family and that Debbie Griffin-Bruton could continue living in the home despite the current tax penalties and fines. She figured in an amusing January 2000 news story when Griffin-Bruton and Maddox encountered two young men on Adams Street who had urinated on the mayor's truck - prompting city scrutiny of the closing hours of bars that cater to college students.

He said the county sent tax bills to his previous address on Plantation Road, although he moved from that home last June and sold it in April to Chabad Lubavitch. He said he has asked Tax Collector Doris Maloy to send him a letter attesting that tax bills weren't sent to his new home in Stonywood Farms.

"We got no notice about it being in arrears," Maddox told the Democrat. ...



... Ironically, tax woes continued this week for Maddox, this time in his personal life. And this time, Griffon-Bruton's name cropped up again.

She is living in a Tallahassee house owned by Maddox. He purchased it from her and her husband in 2002 after she said she would have to sell it to pay for her husband's medical expenses.

She continues to live in the house rent-free.

The taxes on the house were delinquent until this week, and Leon County put the delinquent tax note up for sale.

Maddox paid the taxes this week.

Maddox owns numerous investment properties in the city.

He said the note for the delinquent taxes was mailed to his former address and he was not aware of their status until this week. ...



... But as Maddox tried to put behind him the mounting controversies threatening his campaign for governor, key questions remained about a $10,500 fine the Leon County Democratic Party paid while he was its chairman. Among them:

--Where did the money for the fine come from? The chairman normally signs party checks, but the fine was paid with a cashier's check. That left no paper trail to anyone at the local party. A campaign report Maddox signed showed that the party spent no money during the period when the fine was paid.

--Why didn't Maddox know about the fine? Records show the local elections office sent both him and Griffin-Bruton letters saying the Leon Democratic Executive Committee owed $10,500 for late campaign finance reports. The report Griffin-Bruton delivered three weeks late to the county elections office shows the signatures of both her and Maddox.

It's a felony to knowingly certify false campaign finance reports.

"I had no knowledge at all. I did not know about this until we got the call from you," Maddox told the St. Petersburg Times by phone while campaigning in Jacksonville. He speculated that a stamp of his signature was used, though he was supposed to authorize any use of that stamp. ...


7:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maddox's mail isn't getting forwarded? I wonder how many other bills have gone unpaid because the mail is piling up in Maddox's old mail box?

What to do?

Here's something for Scott Maddox and his supporters to ponder.

Mayor Maddox probably doesn't know this (he apparently doen't know about much these days). The U.S. Postal Service has a service they should know about. It's called a CHANGE OF ADDRESS CARD.

You fill it out with the type of move you're doing and the date your mail should be forwarded and you send it to the U.S. Postal Service. They then begin sending your mail to the new address.

What a concept.

And you can even get one on the Internet:


7:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is all of this hurting Maddox? Comparing the latest two Quinnipiac Polls of Florida you'll see that he's lost about a quarter of his support.

Besides him announcing for governor, what event has happened in the interim?

Look at the latest Quinnipiac Poll released on June 29:

June 29, 2005
Davis 24
Smith 7
Maddox 16
DK/NA 48

Compare to the April 14th Quinnipiac Poll.

April 14, 2005
Davis 26
Smith 16
Maddox 22
DK/NA 35


8:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I think the point here is that Maddox continues to put the short term interests of his ego before the long term interests of his party.

For every day he continues to press on in his already discredited campaign for Governor, he continues to provoke another dayss coverage of his lingering problems which not only cast a pall on his doomed candidacy but also cast further suspicion over our Democratic party.

Scott could still salvage his reputation and long term political ambitions by gracefully removing himself (and his problems) from the front pages of newspapers across the state, but he stubbornly insists on attempting to defend the indefensible and that is why the coverage in the press and on this and other Democratic blogs continues.

As Democratic fundraising giant John Morgan put it in one of the aforementioned articles,

"It's over for Scott. I just don't think he knows it's over yet."


10:00:00 AM  
Blogger thelastdem said...

This one is not going away anytime soon, and it doesn't help that Maddox is avoiding the media. His current strategy of avoid and blame is only lengthening the period of this story. It is almost like this media strategy is coming straight from the same people who urged Clinton to duck on Whitewater.

When you duck like this, the media will keep looking---and they will keep finding.

He basically has two choices at this point-

1. He can get out.

2. He can either call a press conference, or take a well-placed reporter to dinner and honestly and completely lay out every possible thing that is out there---let them write it all in one story, and hope that he can put it in the past.

Otherwise, this story will continue to go on, and on, and on, and on...

10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally disagree that Maddox is done - at least for now. When you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar, instead of going on the defensive you should always go on the offensive. This tactic has worked surprisingly well for President Bush, and Maddox has taken a page right out of the administration's play book.

I don't like how Bush gets away with what he does, but he does. I think Maddox will be OK for a while, because he is acting just like Bush. I don't like it, but I credit him with being smart.

11:00:00 AM  
Blogger RON said...

some important notes:

Maddox has increased his numbers after a full frontal assault from the press and other Democrats

and this poll surveyed more Republicans than Democrats

Nelson tops Harris in Florida senate race, Quinnipiac University Poll finds; voters disapprove of her role in 2000 vote count

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, still carrying baggage from her controversial role in the 2000 Presidential vote count, trails Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson 50 - 38 percent in an early look at the 2006 Florida Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Republicans back Harris 72 – 15 percent, while Democrats back Nelson 80 – 11 percent and independent voters go with the Democrat 61 – 27 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Gender is not an issue, as women back the Democrat 52 – 37 percent, and men go with Nelson 48 – 39 percent.

Sen. Nelson has a 46 – 23 percent approval rating, and 38 percent of Florida voters want to see him reelected next year, with 37 percent who want a new Senator.

But voters disapprove 43 – 33 percent of the role Harris played in the 2000 Presidential vote count and 37 percent say they are less likely to vote for her because of it.

"Sen. Nelson looks vulnerable in his re-election bid, except when you match him against U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris or other possible Republican challengers. He gets a lukewarm approval rating and even 36 percent of Democrats would rather see someone else elected to the Senate. Those wavering Democrats come scurrying home, however, when Harris is Nelson's opponent. Independent voters also favor his re-election," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Nelson also tops State Senate President Tom Lee 53 – 30 percent and beats State House Speaker Allan Bense 55 – 26 percent.

When asked who they would like to see run for U.S. Senate in 2006, 54 percent of Florida Republican voters pick Harris, followed by 10 percent for Lee and 6 percent for Bense.

"Because she is better known, Rep. Katherine Harris may be the strongest Republican candidate right now to face Sen. Bill Nelson next year, but she comes to the race with strong baggage that could hurt her in the general election," Richards said.

"This poll shows Florida voters have long memories and even before the campaign has started, 37 percent say they are less likely to vote for her because she halted the recount in the 2000 Presidential election when she was Florida's Secretary of State."

Governor's Race
Looking at the 2006 Florida Governor's race, 24 percent of Democrats would like to see U.S. Rep. Jim Davis as their candidate, followed by 16 percent for state Democratic Party Chair Scott Maddox and 7 percent for State Sen. Rod Smith.

Among Republican voters, Attorney General Charlie Crist leads with 43 percent, followed by State Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher with 31 percent.

From June 22 - 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,248 Florida registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The survey includes 423 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points, and 477 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the nation as a public service and for research.

Complete Poll Results


Democratic Victory Network An Umbrella Group: Of Progressive Groups

11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No disrespect, but that is not how I read this poll and these trends. If you look at the track, Maddox has droped from 22% in mid April to 16% now.

The difference between the 14% he received the other day and 16% he received in the Q poll is largely an issue of sampling and error, not trend.

Not that any of it matters at this point, with 48% undecided (and probably a good chunk of the declared supporters are truly weak supporters), this thing is totally wide open.

12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy Andrews said...

Only a Maddoxite could see 22% going to 16% and call that an increase.

I think a lot us are starting to see what is all too clear: there is a vast conspiracy of postal employees seeking to end Scott's candidacy.

From making certified mail disappear, to improper forwarding, Florida's mail carriers are firm and forward in their opposition to a Maddox governorship.

Sad part is, this is probably the Maddoxite's next rallying cry.

12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there aren't many people with more problems with the mail than scott maddox. i wonder how many times the "check" has been "sent," but just "somehow lost in the mail."

12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous gator78 said...

Let's not forget that the postal service is part of the federal government which is under the Bush administration. The Bush brothers do not want to give up their stranglehold on Florida, so President Bush has probably ordered the postal service to withhold all mail to Scott Maddox that appears to be of a financial nature.

It's also important to mention that as was mentioned earlier, the IRS is also controlled by the Bush administration, so it is likely that the White House has orchestrated this whole ordeal because they see Maddox as being the strongest candidate and fear him.

If you are dumb enough to be one of those people (no offense Josh, Ron and others) to believe these conspiracy theories, then you should definitely visit http://maddoxforgovernor06.blogspot.com/.

4:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy Andrews said...

AP: Poll: Maddox's candidacy in trouble over financial problems
Story last updated at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, 2005

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox's gubernatorial
bid is being damaged by reports of financial problems during his term as
chairman of the state Democratic Party, a poll released Wednesday indicates.

Maddox, who had support of 22 percent of the Democrats questioned in a
similar poll in April, fell to 16 percent in the survey by Quinnipiac
University Polling Institute taken June 22-26. Pollsters went into the field
a day after the story broke that the Internal Revenue Service had slapped a
lien on the Democratic Party's last $98,000 for unpaid social security and
payroll taxes in 2003 when Maddox was its chairman.

"You have to conclude that it is beginning to hurt him," said Clay Richards,
assistant polling director for Quinnipiac.

The party is also trying to resolve a $900,000 bookkeeping discrepancy on
its balance sheets for the 2003-04 years. A former party bookkeeper said
earlier this week that the problems were caused by her mistakes and that she
had never informed Maddox.

But Maddox has also acknowledged he only recently paid overdue Leon County
property taxes of $2,632.47, another potentially embarrassing situation for
a candidate seeking to sell his management skills as an administrator to

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis held steady in the new poll with support of
24 percent of the 423 Democrats interviewed while state Sen. Rod Smith,
D-Alachua, dropped to just 7 percent from 16 percent two months earlier.

"It is the kind of situation that provides an opportunity for some other
candidates to jump into the race," Richards said.

Half of the Democrats sampled said they either didn't know who they'd vote

The sample on polling of Democratic voters carried a margin of error of plus
and/or minus 4.8 percentage points.

On the Republican side, Attorney General Charlie Crist was favored by 43
percent of the 477 registered GOP voters questioned to 31 percent who said
they supported Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.

"It is very early in that race and there's nothing that would make a big
difference at this time," Richards offered. "That's still going to be a
horse race to be fought out next year."

Only 5 percent of the respondents said they'd want to see someone else in
that race to vote for.

In an early look at the U.S. Senate race in 2006, voters indicated they have
doubts about U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, but the poll showed him ahead of any of
the present Republican hopefuls - including U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris.

However, Nelson would have a slightly more difficult time against Harris
than either state House Speaker Allan Bense or Senate President Tom Lee, who
decided last week to opt for a Cabinet post instead.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,248 registered voters for its Senate survey, which has
a margin of error of plus and/or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Quinnipiac's snapshot of that race some 14 months before the primary showed
Nelson favored by 55 percent of those asked to 26 percent for Bense. Lee,
who is now out of that contest, actually fared a bit better, trailing Nelson

Nelson was favored by 50 percent compared to 38 percent for Harris, who may
get a challenge from Bense, a wealthy Panama City developer being courted by
the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush to get into the race.

But winning the primary could be a problem for the lesser known state

Harris would easily defeat either GOP challenger if an election were held
now, the Quinnipiac survey indicated.

She was favored by 54 percent of the Republicans surveyed to Lee's 10
percent and just 6 percent for Bense.

After nearly five years in office, Nelson's support is lukewarm, even among
Democrats. He received a 46 percent job approval rating from those
questioned and even 36 percent of the Democratic respondents said they'd
rather see someone else in Nelson's job.

"Those wavering Democrats come scurrying home, however, when Harris is
Nelson's opponent," Richards said Wednesday.

Harris is still remembered, unfavorably by some, for her role as Florida's
secretary of state in the 2000 presidential election recount although 44
percent said it would make no difference on how they'd vote.

Florida's newly elected U.S. Sen. Republican Mel Martinez of Orlando,
received a 45 percent approval rate compared to 29 percent who disapproved.
Another 26 percent said they didn't know. Martinez was elected last year.

5:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a snip from the latest AP story on how "Maddoxgate" is hurting the Maddox campaign:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Story last updated at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Poll: Maddox's candidacy in trouble over financial problems

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox's gubernatorial bid is being damaged by reports of financial problems during his term as chairman of the state Democratic Party, a poll released Wednesday indicates.

Maddox, who had support of 22 percent of the Democrats questioned in a similar poll in April, fell to 16 percent in the survey by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute taken June 22-26. Pollsters went into the field a day after the story broke that the Internal Revenue Service had slapped a lien on the Democratic Party's last $98,000 for unpaid social security and payroll taxes in 2003 when Maddox was its chairman.

"You have to conclude that it is beginning to hurt him," said Clay Richards, assistant polling director for Quinnipiac.

The party is also trying to resolve a $900,000 bookkeeping discrepancy on its balance sheets for the 2003-04 years. A former party bookkeeper said earlier this week that the problems were caused by her mistakes and that she had never informed Maddox.

But Maddox has also acknowledged he only recently paid overdue Leon County property taxes of $2,632.47, another potentially embarrassing situation for a candidate seeking to sell his management skills as an administrator to voters. ...


5:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a new poll for Maddox.

Bend over and take this poll. He should because that is just what he's done to the Party.

I think he is mental... really out of touch.

And more bad news is coming on not paying taxes. This guy is nuts.

He is just starting to feel the bad news that is on the way.

Maddox supporters are a sorry lot for thinking he tells the truth.

Maddox cannot tell the truth.

Also, he sucks and is a wife cheater. That will come out too.

John Meoff

5:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maddox said he left the Party not owing one dime... he was right about that, IT TWO MILLION DIMES.

What a jerk and liar. I fart in his general direction

John Q. Public

5:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's story of note:

More problems surface for Democratic gubernatorial candidate




TALLAHASSEE -- While gubernatorial hopeful Scott Maddox was its chairman, the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee failed to file a bond and an audit this year as required by law.

There are no penalties for the failures, but it's the latest bit of bad news for Maddox's campaign as a national pollster warned about slippage in his support.


Florida statutes also require county committees to file an audit and a bond with the county supervisor of election.

Officials with the Leon County election office said Wednesday the Leon County DEC had not filed the bond or the audit.

Janet Olin, the assistant supervisor of elections in Leon County, said state law does not spell out penalties for failure to file the bond or audit, unlike the $10,500 penalty assessed due to the late-filed campaign-finance report.

Paige Carter-Smith replaced Maddox this month as chairwoman of the Leon County DEC. She was the state party's executive director under Maddox. Carter-Smith said Wednesday that Griffin-Bruton had the paperwork related to the non-filed audit and bond.

Carter-Smith said she was trying to figure out why the filings were not made.

Maddox campaign spokeswoman Sallie Stohler said the documents related to the bond and audit were in Griffin-Bruton's possession and that Maddox could not comment until he studies the matter further.


MORE AT: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050630/NEWS/506300439/1017/POLITICS&URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heraldtribune.com%2Fapps%2Fpbcs.dll%2Farticle%3FAID%3D%2F20050630%2FNEWS%2F506300439%2F1017%2FPOLITICS&Page=2

7:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this on today's Palm Beach Post editorial page and wondered if the Maddox campaign is using the same tactic Healthsouth's former CEO Richard Scrushy used as a defense in his criminal fraud trial:

...Like so many others, Mr. Scrushy had used the clueless defense. Yes, he was the CEO, but he had no idea that the 15 executives who pleaded guilty were perpetrating a nearly $3 billion fraud that almost killed the company. ...


8:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Whatever it was, it wasn't his fault. Really
By HOWARD TROXLER, Times Columnist
Published June 30, 2005

Karen Thurman, recently chosen as the new chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, sat in her Tallahassee office in a glum mood.

The party owed back taxes to the IRS. The party's finances were in disarray.

"How in the heck could we have not withheld federal taxes?" Thurman said, throwing up her hands in amazement.

"How does a major political party in the fourth-biggest state in the nation make a mistake so boneheaded?"

Thurman's intercom buzzed. "He's on line two again," the secretary said. "He keeps asking me to "remember' that I was the one who ordered all those pizzas and didn't pay for them."

Thurman scowled and picked up the phone. "Scott, is that you again?" she asked.

Her predecessor as party chairman, Scott Maddox, now a candidate for governor, was on the other end of the line. He sounded panicked.

"Karen, I think I know which employee left the water running in the men's room. But I take full responsibility." ...


8:05:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

The right wing of our party led by the lobbyists who are backing Rod Smith have made a deal. They will win the primary and then throw the general election to Charlie Crist. Senator Smith probably doesn't realize this, but his money will dry up in a General election as voters and insiders decided to back the real Republican over the make believe one.

As for Jim Davis, if you were at the Jefferson-Jackson need I say more?

These two candidates were responsible for bring the party into the mud last week and it is about time they had some mud on them. Scott Maddox is a man of great honor and leadership skills. These vile, slanderous attacks on his charecter in papers across the state the last few days have been totally un called for. I urge everyone to view the results of today's audit which will claer Scott Maddox of any wrongdoing and consider the evnts of the last week and which camps have been responsible for spreading them.

9:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff- What happened at JJ?

10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard they cut Davis' microphone off before he could finish. What else would you expect from an event organized by the Maddox guard at the FDP.

10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think everyone needs to know the real truth about Jeff Tinsley - the Jeff who posted above.

Jeff is an active supporter of the Maddox campaign. On the day that Maddox announced his candidacy for governor, Jeff sent out a vicious attack email, blasting Congressman Jim Davis and Senator Rod Smith, Maddox's two opponents in the primary. While Jeff's original email had merit and did raise legitimate concerns about Davis and Smith, it is somewhat hypocritical for Maddox supporters to complain about their candidate getting hit hard with mud when it was the Maddox campaign that lashed out first at its opponents.

Last night, Jeff sent out another email to Maddox supporters asking them to bombard the blogosphere and post comments to make it appear as if the majority of Democrats support Maddox's run for governor and reject the latest scandals. The tactic that Jeff has endorsed is commonly known as "freeping" and is used by right-wing activists to rig online polls and discussion boards.

Below is the email sent out last night by Jeff Tinsley, a Scott Maddox operative:

----- Original Message -----
From: jefftinsley2000@yahoo.com
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 5:14 PM
Subject: Blogs: getting our message out.

I am organizing, independent of the Maddox campaign, an effort to correct the record about skewed anti-Maddox propaganda appearing on blog sites throughout the state. The two sites I have been monitoring are www.floridapolitix.blogspot.com, a website run by James Haywood a notorious hater of Scott Maddox. Also being monitored is www.kartiksworld.blogspot.com, which is website run by Kartik Krishnaiyer a paid political operative supporting one of Mayor Maddox's primary opponents. Kartik Krishnaiyer, has also been directing reporters from the St Pete Times to his blog site in order to help feed the Times continued hatchet job on Scott Maddox. I would like to get as many friendly posts on these blogsites as possible to let everybody know where we stand. Also, any information on other blog sites would be helpful. I understand Derek Newton another Democratic operative hostile to Scott Maddox has his own blogsite as well. It is important that we monitor any of his postings as well, though I have failed to find his blog. Also please post on Josh Hicks excellent website, http://maddoxforgovernor06.blogspot.com/. Josh is one of the finest young leaders our party has and it is important to support his efforts as much as we possibly can.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Jeff Tinsley

12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So like his candidate Maddox, this guy Jeff is another fraud?

Go join to Republicans Jeff!

We don't want your hypocritical , trolling kind around these parts.

2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...


2:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The audit is now completed & the conclusions are in... read it & weep:


Posted on Thu, Jun. 30, 2005

Report: Democrats financial problems caused by Maddox

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Investigators found no fraud, but blamed an accounting scandal at the Democratic Party on poor hiring decisions by former state chairman Scott Maddox, who is seeking the party's gubernatorial nomination.

"The comptroller ... was in over her head," said former statewide prosecutor Melanie Hines, who was hired by new Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman to investigate how the party missed federal tax payments in 2003 and lost track of more than $900,000.

Maddox, the investigation found, played no direct role in the mistakes, but was also unaware of the problems despite pleas from the comptroller for help.

The chairman's chief of staff, longtime aide Paige Carter-Smith, was told by outside accountants about the failure to pay the Social Security and payroll taxes during two quarters in 2003, but didn't remember the conversation, Hines said.

Carter-Smith and Maddox, however, were criticized for their hiring choices.

"We know that the responsibility for the management of the payroll system was assigned to an individual who had no prior experience in that specific task," Hines said. "And who appeared not to have been trained in that duty" with only a "rudimentary understanding of the process."

Hines said the comptroller, Debbie Griffin-Bruton, repeatedly told her managers about her concerns about her ability to handle the job.

Maddox said he was not aware of the problems before last week's disclosure by Thurman, who only became chairwoman in May.

Thurman said the party has paid off its obligation of slightly more than $200,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, which included interest and penalties. She said the party had about $80,000 in its account Thursday.

Thurman also offered a new five-point plan she said would restore confidence among Democrats in the party's business operations and pledged to find "excellent, credible candidates for every public office."

She would not, however, say whether she believed her Maddox remains a credible gubernatorial candidate in the aftermath of the bookkeeping mess she inherited from him.

Maddox scheduled a press availability later to talk about the findings and his future. Griffin-Bruton issued a statement this week accepting blame for the problems.

The state Republican Party, which operates with a larger staff at its Tallahassee headquarters, has raised close to $5 million already this year as it readies for the 2006 campaign cycle highlighted by races for governor and the U.S. Senate.


Florida Democratic Party: http://www.fladems.com/

© 2005 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

4:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"...The chairman's chief of staff, longtime aide Paige Carter-Smith, was told by outside accountants about the failure to pay the Social Security and payroll taxes during two quarters in 2003, but didn't remember the conversation, Hines said. ..."


... Maddox scrambled to contain the damage to his fledgling campaign for governor. He was the party chairman when, the IRS said, the party failed to pay its employees' payroll and Social Security taxes for 2003, but said the IRS lien came as a "total surprise."

He blamed a party bookkeeper - whom he hired - for not telling him.

"She didn't tell her superiors. She didn't tell me," Maddox said outside a campaign fundraiser in Palm Beach County. ...





6:28:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Maddox has been vindicated. He has been cleared of fraud and websites like this and the newspapers will have to find something new to talk about.


9:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am afraid Maddox has given the newspapers plenty to write about. Thurman may have helped him out yesterday, but I hardly think his woes are over.

10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lakeland Ledger Editorial:

Published Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Maddox Gets More Baggage

No question about it, Scott Maddox has name recognition. Lots of it. The kind no other candidate for governor wants. Maddox is pulling more baggage than the Amtrak Silver Meteor.

Revelations in mid-June of how Maddox handled the financial affairs of the Florida Democratic Party, which he chaired until his May departure to run for office, were bad enough.

His explanation that it was all the fault of the party comptroller, Debbie Griffin-Bruton, was lame, even though she accepted the blame.

Her admission also was accompanied by a news story that Maddox's real estate company had purchased Griffin-Bruton's house in 2002 to help her and her ailing husband.

And last week, there were more news stories about fines and unpaid personal property taxes.

It's time he withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination and give viable candidates a chance. Here's a look into the Maddox baggage car thus far:

The newest piece of Samsonite came Thursday from The Ledger's Tallahassee bureau. While Maddox was chairman of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee, the committee failed to file a bond and an audit with the county supervisor of elections as required by law.

The Leon County DEC had already paid a $10,500 fine to the county supervisor's office for filing a campaign-expense report past the deadline while under Maddox's watch.

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported Wednesday that Maddox paid $2,632.47 in overdue Leon County property taxes on a home his company, Spectrum Resources, purchased three years ago from GriffinBruton. The taxes were paid after the newspaper asked Maddox about them.

The newspaper also reported that the 2002 purchase of the home by a company controlled by Maddox and his wife came at a time when Maddox was mayor of Tallahassee, and Griffin-Bruton was financial director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. He said John Bruton, her husband, was a former city policeman suffering from Alzheimer's and he has allowed them to live in the home by paying a token rent, which he waived last year when Bruton went into long-term care.

While the city is run by a city manager, the mayor helps set city policies governing the city's departments and its employees. That Maddox would enter into such an agreement with an upper-level

city employee -- no matter how kind-hearted -- raises ethical questions.

Maddox said the county sent tax bills to his previous address, from where he moved last June and sold this April.

Maddox released a letter from Griffin-Bruton on Wednesday in which she said she made "several honest mistakes" as the state party controller. She was resigning that position and her position with the Leon County DEC last week.

Stress over her husband's health distracted her and resulted in mistakes "including the nonpayment of payroll taxes for the Florida Democratic Party and delinquency in filing reports, and late fees for the Leon County DEC."

Those mistakes were reported two weeks ago when the IRS slapped a lien on the state party for failing to pay $200,000 in payroll taxes.

An audit by the state party found $900,000 that was previously thought missing from party coffers. The audit found GriffinBruton had rudimentary skills for the job, and was "in over her head." Maddox had no knowledge of the bookkeeping mistakes, the audit found.

Maddox responded by saying the audit proved the attacks on him were "false, inaccurate or overblown."

But the audit hardly vindicated Maddox's two-year job as party head. "It is clear that the problems occurred because of a poor hiring decision, a lack of internal controls and a lack of strong oversight," said Mealin Hines, a former statewide prosecutor who supervised the weeklong audit.

Karen Thurman, who was named state Democratic Party chairwoman after Maddox left in May, said the party's accountants warned of severe internal control problems in a March letter, and the audit had found those controls to be "absolutely, unequivocally the worst."

Meanwhile, Maddox told a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times last week, "I've got a record of achievement at the city of Tallahassee, and I took a very bad situation at the state party and made it better. . . . I'm going to move forward and talk about the issues that affect Floridians."

Like what? What kind of people he'll hire to help him manage a state with a $65 billion budget?

It's time for this lumbering baggage hauler to get on a side spur and let some express trains by.

6:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Story last updated at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Maddox hit by another complaint over Democratic Party leadership

Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gubernatorial hopeful Scott Maddox was hit with another allegation criticizing his leadership Tuesday when a police union founded by his father questioned the "mysterious" payment of a $10,500 fine during the time the younger Maddox headed the state Democratic Party.

The Police Benevolent Association, which has endorsed Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist in the 2006 governor's race, said in a complaint filed with the state Elections Commission that it is unclear where the money for paying the fine came from because it was paid with a cashier's check.

The fine was imposed because the Leon County Democratic Party was late filing a postelection report in 2004. Maddox, a former Tallahassee mayor, was then chairman of both the state and Leon County parties.

The complaint also asks the commission to determine if Maddox broke the law when he signed a waiver that failed to show payment of the fine.

David Murrell, the PBA's executive director, said "someone went to a lot of trouble to cover up the source of these funds."

"It's beyond us why you would do it with a cashier's check instead of a check from the local Democratic Party."

Maddox has said he did not know about the cashier's check.

"He was never made aware that there was a fine or that the fine was somehow paid," campaign manager Sallie Stohler said Tuesday. "We don't know where this money came from. We want to get to the bottom of this, too."

Stohler said the brouhaha was more about politics.

"There is no surprise given that this is a group that has a political and personal ax to grind against Maddox," she said. "Last week it was (Gov.) Jeb Bush issuing personal attacks on Scott Maddox and this week it's allies of Charlie Crist. There is nothing new here."

Murrell said the complaint had nothing to do with a longtime feud between the PBA and Maddox family. Charlie Maddox, the candidate's father, headed the PBA for some three decades before being ousted in 1994.

"It's true that we're not members of the mutual admiration society," Murrell said. "Aside from that, the question we'd ask is how has the law been violated? Maybe the Elections Commission, through its subpoena power, can finally bring the truth to light."

The importance of the governor's race, Murrell said, prompted the state's largest law enforcement union to get involved. The union has 30,000 members.

"We think its vitally important that we have someone with good managerial skills," Murrell said. "We think all of these issues bring into question whether Scott Maddox is that person."

Maddox's campaign has been plagued in recent weeks by allegations that he mismanaged the state Democratic Party.

The party failed to make Social Security and payroll tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service in 2003 and only last week cleared up that obligation with a $200,000 payment to the federal government.

An extensive audit ordered by Maddox's successor, Chairwoman Karen Thurman, also resolved a series of bookkeeping errors that resulted in a $926,000 bookkeeping discrepancy from the 2003 and 2004 reports.

State Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa are Maddox's opponents in next year's Democratic primary while Crist and Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher are rivals in the GOP contest.


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