Jamie Bennett campaign staffer inviting people to city's Tropicana Field suite
Mayoral candidate and City Council member Jamie Bennett is using his volunteer campaign manager to invite neighborhood presidents to watch a Tampa Bay Rays game at the city's suite, according to an email the Bay Buzz has obtained.
City Council members are often granted use of the city's suite, so that's no unusual. But typically arrangements are made through the City Council office, not campaign staff.
Bay Buzz has gotten hold of an e-mail from Peter Schorsch, Bay Buzz hater and Bennett volunteer campaign manager. Here's the e-mail, with Schorsch's phone number removed.
I am working with Councilman Jamie Bennett to invite you to the city's suite for the Rays game on May 15th.
If you are interested in attending, please let me know by Tuesday the 28th.
As you all know, using city resources for campaign purposes is a no-no.
(UPDATE 1:25 p.m.) Schorsch, when reached by phone, says he does "a lot of administrative work for my good friend Jamie Bennett." He said he was asked by Bennett to offer box seats to neighborhood association members that otherwise may have gone unused. There was no political message behind it, he said. It remains unclear why the e-mail was not sent from Bennett's City Council assistant or another city employee. "With so much going on right now, I do a lot of typing and running around for Jamie in general. It doesn’t have anything to do with his campaign."
(UPDATE 1:50 p.m.) Bennett weighs in, saying he has never asked city staff to help distribute baseball tickets. He always did it himself, but since "I've got Peter riding around with me all day, I asked him to make some calls." Bennett isn't sure if he'll attend the May 15 game at the city suite, he said. "I take it upon myself to make sure (the tickets) are used," Bennett said. "It's one of the only ways to honor volunteers."
(UPDATE 12:24 p.m.) Largo Mayor Pat Gerard has endorsed Bennett, according to his blog.
Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer