Monday, June 21, 2010

More Trouble for Convicted Criminal Doug Guetzloe

I'm putting together some notes detailing some of my past interactions with everyone's favorite local miscreant, Doug Guetzloe, but here's some fun reading for now:
Guetzloe - FDOE Probable Cause Finding

This is what's called a "Order of Probable Cause" from the Florida Division of Elections ("FDOE"), and relates to a complaint I filed against Doug Guetzloe and his Ax the Tax group for actions during the 2008 elections.

Essentially, what the FDOE Order says is that they have found probable cause that Guetzloe and Ax the Tax violated several election laws, relating to the required disclaimers for political advertisements and also campaign finance issues related to Ax the Tax.  

When Ax the Tax was formed, it was organized as an "issue-based" political committee ("PC").  Under Florida Statutes, issue PCs can take in unlimited contributions and make unlimited expenditures in support of or opposition to an issue or ballot referendum.  (For  example, see Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, Inc., supporting "Vote No on 4.")  However, issue PCs cannot support or oppose any candidates, and candidate PCs have greater financial restrictions: they can only take contributions up to $500 and can only spend up to $500 per candidate per election cycle.  Basically, what Guetzloe did with Ax the Tax is form it as an issue PC and take advantage of the lack of financial limitations of issue PCs, but then turned around and used Ax the Tax to support and oppose candidates.

The complaint I filed isn't the first time Guetzloe has been in trouble with FDOE.  In my opinion, one of the best illustrations of Doug Guetzloe's arrogant disregard for the law is summed up in the first footnote of the Staff Recommendations from the FDOE order:

(click to enlarge)
Guetzloe was fined $3,000 for election law violations in 1995, and another $4,000 in 2007, but as the footnote states, "Mr. Guetzloe has not paid either of the fines." 

Why is Guetzloe allowed to continually scoff at the law?  Why isn't the FDOE pursuing collection of these fines?  Is the law really without any teeth?

On a more positive note, Guetzloe hasn't entirely escaped the long arm of the law in other areas.  Despite his blatant misrepresentations to the contrary, he is still in some serious legal trouble in several other pending cases.  

Regarding the 2006 failure to include electioneering disclaimers case, Guetzloe is fond of saying that the charges against him were "dismissed," or that he was "cleared."  Not true.  A review of the public records shows that Case No. 2006-MM-009313-A-O is still open and pending, but tied up in several appeals (see one here).  Note also that Guetzloe pled "nolo contendere," or "no contest" to the charges, was adjudicated guilty, and sentenced to county jail time.

Guetzloe's appeal relates to the sentence.  He has not prevailed and the conviction still stands.  This means that legally, right now, Douglas Guetzloe is a convicted criminal.  In the past, Fred O'Neal usually sends nasty little demand letters or files lawsuits against anyone who calls Dougie a convicted criminal, but sorry, Fred, that's the truth, and you can't sue someone for libel or defamation for just stating the truth. 

Doug Guetzloe is a convicted criminal, the case has not been dismissed and he is still awaiting sentencing.  In fact, Judge Arnold held a status hearing just last Friday.  The heat is starting to get turned up on ol' Dougie boy.

Also, a 2007 civil case filed by Richard Mask against Guetzloe appears to be rapidly approaching its day in court.  A summary of the case by the Orlando Sentinel can be found here, and a funnier synopsis (but with some NSFW language) by the Orlando Weekly is here.  A Notice for Jury Trial was issued last December, but O'Neal pulled his usual delay tactics and the case was continued, but a new Notice for Trial was issued on June 10, 2010. 

Now, add in the ever-growing number of concerned citizens who are connecting all the dots between Doug Guetzloe, Fred O'Neal, their Fake Tea Party, and Alan GraysonBruce O'Donoghue, Republican candidate for Congress, had a great press conference last week discussing some of these issues, and a threatening letter he received from O'Neal.    

Some more fun reading for you:


A little birdie told me that WKMG Local 6 will have a story on Guetzloe tonight during their 6 pm news broadcast.  I'm setting my DVR and will provide a link to the Click Orlando website as soon as it's posted.

UPDATE at 8:30 p.m.:  Here is a link to some fantastic reporting by Local 6's Tony Pipitone, brand new breaking news tonight...

1 comment:

  1. Like your site. Added you to my blog roll. Doug Guetzloe's career will be capped by two things: He started off in politics as Charlie Crist's former student government buddy at FSU, and he ended it as a stooge for Alan Grayson. Sad. So much energy and drive, so little wisdom from someone who could have been a formidable conservative activist. Keep up the good work rumpfshaker.


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