Friday, January 19, 2018
Education

Elections complaints against Pinellas School Board candidate dismissed

Two elections complaints against Elliott Stern, a candidate for Pinellas County School Board, have been dismissed, according to the Florida Elections Commission.

The commission found that both complaints were "legally insufficient" to warrant further investigation, according to documents released by the commission Monday.

Stern, a retired businessman who faces board member Janet Clark in a runoff Nov. 6, said he was thankful for the decision. "I'm appreciative that they got back as quickly as they did and that we've been absolved of any wrongdoing because that's not our style," he said.

Both complaints against Stern were filed in the days before the Aug. 14 primary. Clark took nearly 35 percent of the vote in the primary, while Stern won almost 26 percent of the vote to get to a runoff.

The first complaint, filed by Jasmina Forcan of Clearwater, claimed that Stern's campaign paid for a mailer put out by Florida First, a Bradenton-based electioneering group, because his campaign treasurer made a $20,000 donation to the group. Florida First also was named in the complaint. The commission found "no evidence" that Stern was part of Florida First.

The second complaint, filed by Judith Nelson of St. Petersburg, accused Stern of violating state law by running television ads without closed captioning. The commission found that Stern's ad didn't fit the definition of video programming required by the law.

Forcan and Nelson both previously declined to comment on the complaints. Neither could be reached Monday for comment on the dismissals.

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