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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist drops in on The Donald for some tax bucks




Charlie Crist visited an old friend in NYC Thursday night, getting Donald Trump's help with a $1,000-a-person fundraiser for the property tax amendment. (full story here.)

"He's working hard on real estate taxes," Trump told the crowd of about 40 people, who sipped on pinot grigio and Trump Ice (bottled water) and munched New England crab cakes, stuffed spinach rolls and vegetable wontons. "I like him. He's just a special guy."

Crist pulled on family roots to sell the property tax plan, which goes before voters Jan. 29. "Preserving the American dream is incredibly important," he said, recounting his grandfather's journey from Cyprus in 1912. "That's what this is all about, that's the crux of this entire argument."

Ivanka Trump was there, along with South Florida real estate investor Mary Ann Portell, Sarasota's Gary Kompothecras (1-800-Ask-Gary); New York fabric mavens Jill and Bobby Zarin, former Bill McBride backer Jack St. Martin and a phalanx of Crist insiders: Meredith O'Rourke, Chris Kise, George LeMieux and Jim Greer.

The Buzz also saw Carole Rome, the woman a NY tabloid said is Crist's new girlfriend. "He's a wonderful man. He's doing wonderful things for Florida. I'm a Florida resident (Miami Beach) and I believe in him," Rome said.

Yeah, but are you dating? "No, no, no. That's silly," Rome said as a friend pulled her away.

Minutes later Rome was at Crist's side, introducing him to friends and offering him a glass of wine, which he politely accepted and just held. Crist talked to Rome for a while, gave her a hug and left with his entourage into the New York night. And then probably headed straight to bed. Crist had an interview with The New Yorker at 8:30 Friday morning, followed by a tour of Goldman Sachs then a sit-down with Time magazine. 

A few tidbits: Crist, running a bit late, jumped from a cab and hoofed it to Trump Tower. Greer, in a different car, did the same. Mr. Trump did a little running of his own. He skipped out of the fundraiser early to attend a gathering of models signed to his agency. Among them, Lauren Caitlin Upton.

She could not be reached for comment.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:09pm]


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