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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Blair: Talk to my attorneys



TAMPA -- An east county activist managed to push Hillsborough County commissioner Brian Blair's button during the public comment period of Wednesday's board meeting.

George Niemann, a regular thorn in Blair's side, used his three minutes Wednesday to draw attention to three complaints filed with the Florida Elections Commission. They accuse Blair of failing to disclose campaign expenditures for a mail piece and billboard ad, and of accepting more than the state limit from one contributor as part of his reelection campaign.

Blair provided receipts after the meeting detailing his expenditures for a mailer and has previously done the same for the billboard in question. He refunded the excess campaign check, though Niemann says only after the complaint was lodged.

During the meeting, as Niemann was taking his seat, Blair noted that each of the complaints was filed by Niemann. A brief exchange ensued, with Blair seeking to get Nieman to admit as much. As the exchange grew more awkward, Blair accused Niemann of slander, telling him the comments were inappropriate for a Commission meeting and that he should direct future remarks to his attorneys.

-- Bill Varian

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:37am]


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