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Sat Feb 11, 2012, 08:56 AM

Tallahassee Mayor gets Leon Co. Democratic committee in hot water

Democratic Leader Points to Tallahassee Mayor in Campaign Probe

A local Democratic leader says Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and his campaign chair Sean Pittman were involved in a questionable campaign contribution days before the August, 2010 primary.

Watch video at link for a part of the story: http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Democratic_Leader_Points_to_Tallahassee_Mayor_in_Campaign_Probe_139061609.html?storySection=comments

What I understand of the story: Jon Ausman, Tallahassee' long time Democratic "leader" and DNC member was told to pick up a check for a contribution from Mark Herron, head of Alliance for a Better Government, to the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee just before the election for Tallahassee mayor. Then the LCDEC gets a bill from a local printing company for a flyer for Tallahassee mayor John Marks - the bill totaled exactly $250 less than the contribution check. The flyers stated they were "approved and paid for" by the LCDEC, but the LCDEC never approved them.

It is illegal in Florida for political parties to give contributions to a candidate less than five days before an election. The LCDEC is negotiating with the state Department of Elections to pay a fine of $500.

The problem I have with this situation is that Jon Ausman has been a political operative for decades. He knows how things work and I'm sure he knew that a check for an odd amount, $4675.66, was not an ordinary contribution. I also want to know who in the LCDEC cut the check to actually pay a bill for an expense that had not been approved by the committee. That person seems to be complicit in this mess.

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