BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County maintenance technicians Dan Oliver and Kenneth Spahalski were checking on the progress of some projects last month when they found something that surprised them inside the old Spring Hill Fire Rescue warehouse.
Volunteers, inmates from the Hernando County Detention Center and employees of Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson were moving voting equipment from a substandard shed on the old, contaminated public works site in south Brooksville to the warehouse in Spring Hill.
One of the volunteers was working on locks inside the building. Spahalski was puzzled as to why someone not employed by the county would be doing that type of work — and in an environment where security is important.
He turned to Oliver, a steward with the Teamsters Union, to ask. But Oliver had another concern. He was familiar with the volunteer. It was Andrew Ingoglia, who he knew was dating the supervisor of elections.
Andrew Ingoglia is the father of Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee, vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a candidate for State House District 35.
"That was a big concern for me,'' Oliver told the Tampa Bay Times. Oliver is a candidate himself, running as a Democrat for the District 4 seat on the Hernando County Commission.
"Seeing where Blaise is in the Republican Party and his dad working in the warehouse, that is a real concern,'' Oliver said.
He noted that he has also seen Andrew Ingoglia recently in the elections offices in both Brooksville and Spring Hill. Anderson is a Republican.
Oliver's concern is shared by others.
"I feel that she doesn't care that there is this cloud of arrogant partisanship that floats over that office,'' said Steve Zeledon, chairman of the Hernando County Democratic Executive Committee. "Having the father of the vice chairman of the Republican Party with access to a building that contains voting machines and voting records is concerning.
"It seems inconceivable that she'd allow something like that.''
Zeledon said the previous supervisor of elections, Democrat Annie Williams, would never have let him come inside nonpublic areas of her office.
Paul Douglas, who heads the Hernando County NAACP, recalls Williams adamantly objecting to his request a few years ago to see the inside of the old voting equipment shed in Brooksville.
"Andrew just doesn't have any problem going into a place he shouldn't go,'' Douglas said. "That's just the fox in the hen house.''
Anderson strongly defended Andrew Ingoglia's work as a volunteer and said the locks in the warehouse were messed up.
"I used every hand I could possibly find,'' she said. "I had to have the keys redone.''
She said there was nothing at risk because only empty ballot boxes, precinct supplies and signs were in the warehouse.
"There is nothing in that warehouse that is voting equipment. There is nothing there that is programmed. There were no ballots there,'' Anderson said.
Once secured equipment and ballots are present, she said, "at that point, things change.''