Freelance writer skewers Greco in fake campaign website
TAMPA — With its made-up quotes, a fake testimonial from an ex-convict, and references to scandals, nepotism, cronyism, shady politics and worse, the new web site mayordickgreco.com is nothing the former mayor’s campaign would ever embrace.
Tampa author and freelance writer Eric Sturm said he put up the faux-campaign website to be satirical, not vindictive. He said he doesn’t know Dick Greco and is not supporting any of his opponents, but sees the former mayor as a symbol of "the old way" of doing things in Tampa.
"I guess I wanted to express my frustration over Tampa politics," Sturm said. "I’m worried about Tampa’s political culture of looking backwards, not forward."
In addition to creating the site, Sturm, 39, has worked as a freelance writer — not an employee, but an independent contractor who was paid by the story — for the St. Petersburg Times and tbt*, a free tabloid published five days a week by the Times. He wrote event listings and short features about business and entertainment. He said he did not tell Times editors about the site before he created it.
No matter, Times editor and vice president Neil Brown said Thursday.
"We won’t be availing ourselves of Mr. Sturm’s services any further," Brown said. As a freelance writer, Sturm is entitled to do what he wants, Brown said, but his decision to move into the realm of politics, "even via satire, completely collides with the work that the St. Pete Times and tbt* do."