Amidst several allegations of wrongdoing, noted legal expert analyzes the truth behind the accusations.
By Jacob Engels
Orlando attorney Frederic B. O’Neal, who has represented dozens of candidates and political committees before the Florida Elections Commission, has concluded that the Paul Paulson Campaign for Mayor is operating with the law and recent flyers identifying Paulson as a “Republican” are completely legal.
“I have reviewed Section 106.143, Florida Statutes (and) I have also reviewed the Division of Elections opinions interpreting the statue. Based on the outlined review, it is my opinion that the restriction in Section 106.143 regarding persons seeking ‘non-partisan’ offices does not apply to candidates for Mayor-Commissioner of the City of Orlando.”
(Read Mr. O’Neal’s full written opinion here)
“I, then, reviewed Orlando’s City Charter and Chapter 21 (“Elections”) of Orlando’s City Code and determined Orlando does not have a prohibition…”
Paulson campaign manager, Mike Shirley, a veteran of several dozen campaigns, agrees with Mr. O’Neal’s opinion. “In an abundance of caution, we sought a legal opinion from the top elections attorney in Florida and we stand by Mr. O’Neal’s opinion.”
A recent news article by the Orlando Sentinel, a longtime supporter of Mr. Dyer’s stated otherwise and in doing so left out critical information provided to the reporter, Mr. Jeffrey Weiner, concerning the O’Neal opinion and related facts to the entire partisan issue.
According to campaign reports on file with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office last year the Orange County Republican Party spent nearly $100,000 in party funds promoting a candidate for Mayor of Winter Park who was a candidate in a similar ‘non-partisan’ campaign.
Additionally, one of Mr. Dyer’s campaign affiliated committees also produced similar materials in a previous race which was only casually mentioned in the article. One seasoned political consultant, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the article was “modus operandi” for the left wing newspaper.
“The Orlando Sentinel has a very left of center political opinion and usually uses their reporters as weapons against candidates. It happens all the time and its unfortunate that this kind of hit piece of political assassination occurs because it gives only one side of the story to voters,” the consultant concluded.
This is the second “hit piece” to be published by the Orlando Sentinel. The first attack appeared shortly after Paulson, 60, announced he was running against the more liberal Dyer. That article mistakenly and wrongly accused two non-profit charities that Mr. Paulson runs of having ‘questionable red flags’ when actually the facts show that the two charities have obtained the highest rating “Gold Stars” from a national organization that audits and investigates charities that have been existence for less than seven years.
Paulson is running a surprisingly strong grassroots campaign against Dyer, a nearly 30 year elected official and this has alarm bells ringing throughout the downtown corridors of power. Paulson’s campaign pledges of less taxes, rolling back the recent 17.7% property tax hike that Dyer passed; reducing the Mayor’s salary to $1 per year and calling for more accountability and transparency has apparently hit the highly vaunted Dyer campaign team flat footed.
The election, moved up by Mr. Dyer to reduce Republican participation in the City’s election, traditionally held during the state’s Presidential primary, is being held on November 3rd of this year, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars as a ‘stand-alone’ election as well as widespread voter confusion as to when the election actually is being held.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org