A $650 dinner, a new Apple computer, $5,000 for a comedian ... these might seem a bit lavish for the average campaign but it's tame spending for Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter.
During her last campaign, Ritter was cited by the state for numerous campaign violations after she and her lobbyist-husband spent more than $25,000 on dinners, travel, family phones, office expenses, even bedsheets.
I reported earlier this week on Ritter's most suspicious expenditure -- $2,000 paid to Ben Kuehne, the attorney who is representing her in an ongoing criminal investigation into Ritter being conducted by the State Attorney's Office. Ritter reported that it was for "campaign-related legal services," along with another $2,000 that went to the law firm of Mark Herron, who represented her in the Florida Elections Commission case.
But to be fair she's curtailed her spending significantly, though it's not without some question marks.
One hint of her formerly lavish campaign spending habits came with a $648.21 bill for a "dinner with supporters" at her favorite Parkland restaurant, Bella Sera. Ritter also bought a new Apple computer for $755, a printer, camera and office supplies for another $338, and spent $213.999 for "phone repairs and IPad update" with campaign money.
Her campaign kick-off at the Kings Point condos was pricey. She paid ARC Broward $1574.10 to cater the event and a whopping $5,000 for a performance by Catskills-style comic Stewie Stone.
The biggest expense to the campaign came in payments made to a company owned by Stan Adkins, a long-time family friend and former Klenet business partner who works as a political consultant. Out of about $65,000 total spent by the campaign so far, Adkins' company received about $25,000, much of it in "consulting fees."
Nice work if you can get it.