Are Republicans who question Teresa Jacobs Bad Republicans? Lobbyists permeate the Mayor’s inner circle, while her husband cashes in?
By Jacob Engels
The other day I was on Facebook minding my owning business, looking at pictures of my friend’s coffee they deemed worthy of photographing when I came across a post from local lobbyist and campaign consultant, John Dowless. John is a good guy, and he is somebody whose skills I respect, even if we find our selves on different sides of races. For example, I worked hard for Sandy Adams in her primary against John Mica, and according to John’s LinkedIn page, he was the lead consultant for Mica. So I respect and like him and am familiar with his work.
Dowless also says on his LinkedIn page that he is the lead consultant for “Orando Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs”, which is a new title in the mold of Miami-Dade County. Dowless was touting a link to a rebranding effort for the Orlando Orange County area on Facebook.
I posted that I thought it was too late, to which Dowless and local activist Mike Hart took to blasting me for being a bad Republican. Local blogger Tom Tillison jumped in asking when Teresa planned to follow through on promises and public comments. Tillison, in turn, was called a conspiracy theorist and, again, a bad Republican.
Dowless responded by doing what Jacobs’ people OFTEN do when challenged, he attacked and then deleted the forum.
But it got me thinking, are Republicans that oppose Teresa Jacobs really bad Republicans. Or are they good Republicans who recognize that she isn’t one. Are they the brave Republicans that reject calls from party bossess to support a bad Republican because they know what a phony she is? It’s a good question, and one I want to assess here.
There are five things that I consider either openly hypocritical OR bad Republican that I will detail here. I must admit that a great many of these came from the now deleted text exchange, but they address claims often BOLDLY proclaimed by team Jacobs.
When I say “Jacobs Claim” I’m referring to arguments made by the mayor herself or by Dowless.
Jacobs Claim: Teresa is anti-special interest, is dutiful to make sure they aren’t in her inner circle and works to make sure they don’t influence her.
The Truth: Special interests permeate every level of Jacobs personal and public life, starting with Dowless himself and extending through her fundraising team.
Let’s start with her Defender-in-Chief, John Dowless, the consultant who took down the debate after he sensed the tide turning against the Mayor.
Dowless is a city commissioner in Edgeweood and has a business doing campaign consulting. n late April/early May 2011, Dowless was a registered lobbyist before Orange County, meeting with Mayor Jacobs on 4/13/2011, “several directors” on 5/03/11 and commissioners Scott Boyd and Jennifer Thompson between those dates. The meeting and purpose is recorded in the county’s directory listing as being for Baseball Enterprises, LLC.
So, to summarize, the very person who takes to defend Jacobs and claims that she stands up to special interests is, himself, a special interest who has sought to lobby none other than the mayor herself.
So here’s a thought for the woman who boasts of being so anti-special interest and lobbyists: next time consider hiring one of the 1.202 million people living in your county that HAVEN’T LOBBIED YOU FOR MONEY to run your campaign. Then we might actually believe you.
Teresa has also buddied up closely to local lobbyist Oscar Juarez, as shady a guy as I’ve come across in a while, and whose lobbying led to some really interesting questions about Mayor Jacobs ally Frank Kruppenbacher in the past.
So this woman is as “in the bag” for special interests as the next politician, she just doesn’t want you to know about it.
Jacobs Claim: Republicans need to reelect Mayor Jacobs to stop the county from fundraising overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Truth: Teresa Jacobs hasn’t lifted a finger to help a single Republican in the last three years, instead choosing to abandon them when they really could have used her. She has raised no money for Governor Rick Scott or the last presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
This is a tougher one to prove, but you have to assume that a woman who hasn’t endorsed anybody would generate some big news if she ever did. So I googled a combination of phrases: “Teresa Jacobs endorses…”, “Jacobs endorses Romney”, Jacobs endorses “Scott” and so on and so forth. Absolutely no reference to any endorsement pops up.
So this is a bad suggestion by Dowless because knowledge of the full picture will piss off all three different applicable groups:
1) Independents that want the mayor to stay out of big party fundraising will be alienated by her lobbyist campaign manager saying this is the reason to vote for her.
2) Republicans that want the mayor to engage will likely be pissed off that their Republican standard bearer hasn’t done a damn thing to help, unlike her predecessor Rich Crotty, who was a Ranger and Pioneer (200k+ raised) for George W. Bush and endorsed a long list of local Repoublicans.
3) Democrats that cross over should be furious that the lobbyist campaign manager is telling the people that Jacobs will hurt Clinton in 2016 if elected.
She turned her back on Bob Brooks in 2012 when he was running against Linda Stewart for the house seat in a swing seat. Stewart had even run against Jacobs two years earlier, making it an easy payback. But alas, nothing came and the seat went democrat.
All in all this one is a loser, and it isn’t even true.
Jacobs Claim: Mayor Jacobs had an impressive professional resume prior to elected office and prior to her mayorship.
The Truth: Not at all. Her resume, outside of elected office, had nothing of substance in it and has some pretty obvious lies. On her Wikipedia page, it states that she moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1981. Before being a mom, her website says, she was a banker, where she was an assistant vice president from 1981-1989.
Her website is a bit dishonest here. Quoting from the website, we learn:
“Their friendship soon blossomed into two years of dating and, ultimately, marriage. To this day, Bruce is still Teresa’s biggest cheerleader. They have four grown children (Josh, 27; twins Max and Lisa, 24; and Chase, 22) and a pet dog, Casey.
Before becoming a mom, Teresa had a successful nine-year career in banking.”
Well, no. We hear at the East Orlando Post support mothers, and believe that a woman can work and be a great mom. Not only do we not judge them for his, we admire them for it. But we are also familiar with simple arithmetic. As this is the 2014, and she has a 27 year old child, that child was either born in 1986 or 1987, meaning that her website wasn’t telling the truth when it said she had a nine year career BEFORE having kids. Her career started in 1981 and ended in 1989 (which I count as eight years) or 1990, meaning there was both overlap and seemingly conflicting numbers on how long the Mayor’s banking career actually was.
We have to assume that Dowless’s Christian Coalition roots came to play here with him preferring her to be a stay at home mom over a working mom. It is an interesting revelation that speaks volumes about the campaign. I do think she should probably reconcile what is an obvious inaccuracy though, or at the very least explain to all the working moms in the county about her desire to not be identified as one of them on her campaign piece when she obviously was.
Also interesting is the fact that nowhere on her campaign page, county bio or Wikipedia page is their any reference to her other job. In fact, one must look to an interview the mayor did on April 29th, 2010 with the West Orlando News Online to find out what the mayor was up to after leaving office. Here’s a link:
“Last October I finally got around to deciding that I wanted to run. I also needed to be in a financial situation where I could run because, I have kids in college and a third one starting. Running for office would require leaving my quite secure job at the office of the Florida Department of Transportation in the worse economy that I’ve ever lived through.”
Wait… what? A woman with no transportation background, aside from her elected service, and who had been out of the workforce for 10 or so years after wrapping up her banking work in Georgia, is boasting about her “quite secure” government job?
I’m sure it was confusing for Representative Steve Precourt to understand how Jacobs could say he was not qualified for the OOCEA head job when she, herself, had parachuted from an elected office to… the Florida Department of Transportation.
Precourt is a seven-year legislator and a former house majority leader, finance and tax chair and utilities chairman in addition to 25 years of transportation planning and engineering. Jacobs was an associate VP at a bank before dropping out to raise her kids for 10 years and then serving 8 years on a county commission. In her mind, she was qualified but he wasn’t. Wow.
Oh, and one more thing to think about… the governor when she got hired was none other than Charlie Crist. Makes the odds she ever endorses Rick Scott even longer, but let’s face it… people that question her are the bad Republicans.
Jacobs Claim: Money taints politics, and my fundraising is more ethical than other candidates’ fundraising.
The Truth: No way. Teresa Jacobs fundraising lists are filled with high powered lobbyists, developers and corporate interests. My man Scott Maxwell took her to task for that here:
She opposed bundling checks when no one would do it for her but now does it because she can. Check out her first invite:
Development interests and lobbyists are all over this thing: Kurt Ardaman, Cecilia Bonifay, Derrick Bruce, Roger Chapin, Pat Chriastensen, John Dowless, Ed Haddock, Oscar Juarez, Randy June, Frank Kruppenbacher, Marcos Marchena, Alex Martines, John McReynolds, Jim Palmer, Bob Paymayesh, Tico Perez, Jim Pugh, Rusty Roberts, Harris Rosen, Jim Sellen, David Seigel, Richard Swann, Joe Trammell, Allison Turnbull and Carl Vandiver all show up as representing business interest or developers or being a business interest or developer, and that’s just what I know from living here and doing some light search engine work on the top column. I’m sure the others want something from her, too.
So bottom line, the Mayor is just as guilty of relying on special interest money as everybody else, so this little myth that she is somehow immune to it is garbage.
Jacobs Claim: She has never benefitted from her elected office.
The Truth: Yes she has. In fact, her husband, Bruce, a former circus clown who now works for PR firm Chernoff Newman, claims clients that most certainly need things from the county and uses his status as Teresa Jacobs husband to drum up business.
The truth is we don’t even know how much Teresa has enriched herself as Mayor because she won’t tell us. We know she got a sweet, secured job at FDOT, but how about the rest of her livelihood.
Here’s the link:
Bruce boasts of this client list. Ask yourself this question: if this was one of Teresa Jacobs opponents, wouldn’t she be demanding to know who his clients were? Who is paying the mayor’s husband? From the list below, we see that NFIB (independent businesses), Health Central in Orlando (a big hospital system), Duda Farm Fresh Foods (the family that owns thousands of acres of developable land across central Florida) and so on.
His experience includes clients such as NFIB, Haven Hospice, Health Central in Orlando, T.G. Lee Dairy, McArthur Dairy, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, USA Mobility, Nextel, Sprint Business Systems, The Pool People and Orkin
Of course, he brags about his status on his website:
And, it’s important to also note Bruce’s relatively new role in life – as first man of Orange County. Yes, his wife is the newly elected Mayor. But that hasn’t changed one thing about Bruce… it’s just one more thing he’s learning to juggle.
So maybe Jacobs, who prides herself on her transparency, decided to disclose all there was to know about Bruce’s earnings on her financial disclosure Form 6. She had the option of attaching their joint tax return, which would provide maximum understanding of her family’s finances, or she could file the limited form 6. Take one guess at what she did.
If I was Val Demings, the first thing I would do is demand a full and complete release of all Bruce Jacobs clients and business brought in starting in 2009, when Teresa was out of office and working at FDOT through her election and first three years.
This, above all else, may be the most damning secret about Teresa. Rumors abound that there has been a sharp spike in Bruce’s book of business, and that could spell all sorts of problems for this campaign season.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com