Rinehart Corruption Scandal Rocks St. Cloud Mayoral Race

Developer gives $10k to Pro-Rinehart PAC, right before Rinehart votes to give the developer $200k in city property.


By Jacob Engels


The oldest adage in journalism is “Follow The Money.”


When a developer gets a sweetheart deal from local government, the money does not lie.


Margus Mahar is an Orlando developer who recently received a very lucrative deal from the St. Cloud Council.


At the October 27th Council meeting, Margus Mahar was given approval for his massive project and a free piece of city property, valued at $200,000.


** See documents at the end of this article **


St. Cloud did not use any type of competitive procurement process in selecting this developer, as is customary in these types of public/private development deals.


This developer was hand picked by Councilman Jeff Rinehart, who brought Mr. Mahar to the city staff.


On October 13th, this same Margus Mahar made a $10,000 contribution to a Political Committee supporting St. Cloud Councilman Jeff Rinehart’s bid for Mayor.


The name of this PAC screams irony, it is called Floridians for Responsible Government.


What exactly is “Responsible” about developers making massive soft money donations to a shadowy PAC supporting a council member, while that developer is negotiating a deal with the City Council?


Another contributor to the Pro-Rinehart PAC is Sun and Moon Therapies.


The address listed for them is a home owned by Jeff Rinehart.


** See documents at the end of this article **


This seems to indicate Mr. Rinehart has some level of direct involvement with the PAC.


The next Pro-Rinehart PAC donor is former City Councilman Tom Griffin.


Griffin runs a charity that provides drug counseling called the Transition House.


The Transition House receives significant support from the St. Cloud Council.


Griffin and Rinehart were close allies when Griffin served on the City Council.


In a bizarre turn, we discovered that though Jeff Rinehart in not a client of the Transition House, he lives in a home owned by the Transition House.


We asked Mr. Griffin if Rinehart was paying market rent for the house or if he was getting a VIP discount, Griffin refused to answer.


This also seems to indicate Mr. Rinehart has some level of direct involvement with the PAC.


Shamrock Auto Body and The Gun Store Inc. are the other St. Cloud businesses that contributed to the PAC.


** See documents at the end of this article **


Mike Reilly, owner of Shamrock is a close friend of Rinehart.


Jerry Brown is the owner of The Gun Store and his company has donated directly to the Rinehart Mayoral Campaign Fund.


Brown admitted his involvement with the Pro-Rinehart PAC in Facebook comments on the Osceola Politics Uncensored Page.


The Pro-Rinehart PAC has already sent out two negative mail pieces attacking Nathan Blackwell, who is Rinehart’s opponent in his bid for Mayor of St. Cloud.


With the hefty war chest the PAC has secured, several more negative mail pieces are expected.


We have already established Councilman Jeff Rinehart has run the dirtiest campaign in the history of St. Cloud politics, but this is a new low.


Using a sleazy PAC funded by his cronies, his tenant, his landlord and a hand picked developer, Rinehart is displaying his inner is Boss Tweed.


St. Cloud voters deserve to know… how did developer Margus Mahar’s massive donation to the PAC supporting Councilman Rinehart effect the negotiations for the development deal that richly benefited Mr. Mahar?


Why did St. Cloud forgo a competitive procurement process when selecting a developer for this project?


Did Mr. Mahar’s large donation to the PAC supporting Councilman Rinehart effect that decision?


This corruption perpetrated by Councilman Jeff Rinehart is a black eye to St. Cloud’s reputation and an insult to voters.


Rinehart Corruption Exposed by Jacob Engels on Scribd



Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. His work through these publications has been showcased in hundreds of publications and news outlets in the state of Florida, the United States, and around the globe. 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 info@eastorlandopost.com