Creative Nepotism

How did Miami commission candidates spend their excess campaign funds? On family and friends, of course.

The next big spender was J.L. Plummer, whose postelection account held more than $47,000, the result of an apparent political blunder, since he lost to Winton. Plummer ignored his humiliation at the polls and rewarded friend and campaign manager Julio Rebull, Sr., and family with $31,500, more than half the leftover funds. That included $11,500 to Ana Maria Quintana, Rebull's daughter and a former Plummer aide. (At city hall she earned $2700 per month.) Two calls to Plummer, Quintana, and Rebull were not returned, but a source close to the campaign described Quintana's duties as tracking funds on a ledger and supervising precinct workers on election day. The commissioner also wrote out a $1000.26 check to Cigna Healthcare in Melville, New York, which paid for Quintana's health insurance, the source said.

In addition Plummer paid Linda Eads, the wife of Coral Gables City Manager Jack Eads, $970.96 for hosting a thank-you dinner. And, as reimbursement for auto expenses, the former commissioner took home $1329.54.

Paying family members to work on a campaign is not forbidden, says Division of Elections senior attorney Bucky Mitchell. "Although it sounds somewhat suspect, it is legal," he comments. And paying for campaign workers' health insurance? "That one is somewhat unusual, but if the insurance was compensation for work performed on a campaign, then it is allowed," the lawyer says. "Violations would depend on the facts and circumstances of the individual expenditures.... If someone wants to file a complaint, they would do it with the Florida Elections Commission in Tallahassee."

Regalado lived up to his name by giving his wife campaign cash
Steve Satterwhite
Regalado lived up to his name by giving his wife campaign cash

Gort challenger Liliana Ros took a more altruistic way out of her campaign. She returned $2030 to contributors. "People give you money for your campaign, your election," she says. "That's where you should spend it."

jose.jimenez@miaminewtimes.com

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