Monday, September 21, 2015

Peter Schorsch is endorsing Lauren Book. Is the the guy you'd want endorsing you?

This is Peter Schorsch. Peter runs the "SaintPetersBlog," a Florida politically-focused blog. He is endorsing Lauren Book on his blog. Recently Peter published an article where he asked such "hard hitting" questions as:

So let’s ask the questions…

How will she keep a firewall between her two worlds? (i.e., as spokesperson for her charity and as someone running for office)

Can she be both a candidate and a foundation CEO?

And what about her salary?

And so we get this answer "State records show that as CEO of Lauren’s Kids, Lauren drew part of her salary from state dollars. Fine, there is absolutely not even a question about a CEO of a foundation drawing a salary. She was paid for work she was doing. But now that she is a candidate, Book says she will no longer derive any of her salary from state funding. Yes, you read that first here on Florida Politics.  Any funds that she draws down for her work with Lauren’s Kids will, going forward, come exclusively from private donations and not from tax dollars. 'This isn’t something we are required to do,' Book said, 'but it feels right and we are always going to bend over backwards to cross our Ts and dot our Is.'"

I guess we will have to see it to believe it. Most of Lauren's Kids money has come from taxpayer dollars, so to claim she will not derive a salary from the taxpayers is a bit ludicrous. Furthermore, we all know some of her "private funds" come from the for-profit GEO Group private prison. But I digress. 

At the least, Lauren Book should be screen her endorsements a little better. Lets look at Peter Schorsch's own record. 


Record cleared, consultant's back
A campaign consultant once banned from working in politics returns with a clean slate.

By JOSE CARDENAS, Times Staff Writer
Published September 9, 2007

Once a rising star in Tampa Bay area politics, Peter Schorsch appeared to be finished as a campaign consultant this spring.
In March, Schorsch pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft and one count of scheming to defraud two candidates and the Greater Tarpon Springs Democratic Club.

Sentenced to house arrest, probation, community service and restitution, Schorsch was banned from working in politics while on probation. Soon he was accused of violating that, too.

But in a deal that wiped out his sentence, Schorsch last month was released from the conditions of his probation.

And he's back in business...

In 2006, Schorsch was charged with writing 16 worthless checks totalling more than $1,200 for cash at Publix. He pleaded guilty and was fined.

Schorsch told the Times that he wrote the checks to cover debts he incurred gambling on basketball games.

- - -

Then, in 2006, Schorsch was arrested on charges he stole nearly $10,000 from the Democratic club, and from Ed Helm and Eve Joy, who ran for mayor and a seat on the St. Petersburg City Council, respectively, in 2005.

Schorsch took their money and did no work.

After pleading no contest, he was sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years of probation, during which he was prohibited from working in campaigns.

He also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay restitution.

But Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone agreed to withhold a formal finding of guilt for Schorsch, who had no other felonies, which meant he would no have a record as convicted felon.

In August, Schorsch appeared at Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court again: Authorities said he violated probation by not making restitution payments...

Prosecutors said they would forgive the house arrest portion of the sentence if Schorsch paid full restitution immediately instead of making payments over several years.

Even if Schorsch paid up, though, Assistant State Attorney Lalitha Alladi and Joy asked that Schorsch be kept on probation.

But Quesada offered to take Schorsch off of probation if he paid the restitution in full right away.

It was a way to encourage Schorsch to borrow money and pay the victims now rather than later, Quesada said...

"He's not a convicted felon," said Bartlett. But "I don't think he can avoid the fact that he has this on his record."

And that's not all of his trouble. Schorsch also still has not paid a $66,500 fine levied in 2006 by the Florida Elections Commission for unrelated election violations.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/cash-for-coverage-questions-arise-about-local-political-blogger-peter/2152747

In Florida's power circles, politicos say dealing with well-connected blogger Peter Schorsch often comes down to the money.

Want to garner his favor or avoid his wrath? Buy an ad.


Want him to write a flattering story or remove a negative post he already wrote? Buy an ad.


According to five people active in politics, Schorsch, 37, has tried to pressure them for hundreds or thousands of dollars in exchange for good stories or the deletion of bad ones
.


Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long and former state Rep. Frank Farkas are among those who say Schorsch tried to trade coverage for money. Three accusers provided documentation and one, Michael Pinson, offered a notarized contract signed by Schorsch.


Since the Tampa Bay Times started asking questions early this month, a 2½-year-old dormant criminal investigation into Schorsch based on some of these claims has been renewed, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri...


The reinvigorated criminal inquiry into Schorsch stems from accusations made by Pinson, a Republican activist who over the last three years Schorsch has frequently criticized and mocked online. Pinson supplied a contract to the Times that Schorsch had presented him in May 2012. In it, Schorsch requested that Pinson pay him $3,200 in order for the blogger to delete all references to Pinson from his websites — and to write nothing more about him for the following three years.


The contract called for a $1,000 bonus if anything Schorsch wrote about Pinson didn't appear in the first 30 online search results.


The contract is notarized and signed by Schorsch. The Times met with the notary, who confirmed its legitimacy...


Pinson, who was mentioned for an open Pinellas congressional seat, said he didn't pay Schorsch, and the attacks continued. Just three months later, in a Twitter exchange with someone Schorsch seemed to believe Pinson knew, Schorsch said this: "Tell Michael I said hi. Just think for 5K he could've made all of this go away. Wait till u see 'The Douchebag Returns' story."


Schorsch acknowledged the tweet but said the recipient was "a fake Twitter account established to harass my family."


******

To sum it up:

  • Arrested in 2006 for writing 16 worthless checks totaling more than $1,200 for cash at Publix. He pleaded guilty and was fined. 
  • Arrested in 2006 on charges he stole nearly $10,000 from the Democratic club, and from Ed Helm and Eve Joy, who ran for mayor and a seat on the St. Petersburg City Council, respectively, in 2005.After pleading no contest, he was sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years of probation, during which he was prohibited from working in campaigns.
  • Still had not paid a $66,500 fine levied in 2006 by the Florida Elections Commission for unrelated election violations over a year after the conviction. 
  • Under a 2 1/2 year long investigation for writing hit pieces against those who do not pay him and accepting bribes for favorable reporting. 
Once again we find a convicted criminal with close ties to Lauren Book. I know Lauren can't help being tied to her father Ron (also a convicted criminal), but having close ties with this guy isn't going to help her cause. 


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