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Largo candidate's ethics charges baseless, panel rules

LARGO — A City Commission candidate's ethics complaints against a rival candidate were unfounded, the Florida Election Commission has determined.

Robert Avery filed the complaints against Robert Hunsicker during the race for Seat 5, which incumbent Harriet Crozier eventually won Nov. 2.

According to a letter Avery received from the Election Commission in October, given to the St. Petersburg Times by Hunsicker, who was copied on its delivery, the investigation found Avery's three complaints were redundant.

The complaints alleged Hunsicker certified untruthful finance reports, failed to report in-kind contributions and accepted excessive in-kind contributions from sitting City Commissioner Curtis Holmes.

"It also appears that you do not have personal information, or information other than hearsay, which supports your allegation that Robert Hunsicker received and accepted an in-kind contribution from the Largo City Commissioner Curtis Holmes," Election Commission director Rosanna Catalano wrote in the letter.

An aspect of the case that remains open, however, is an unreported $14.95 expense for Web hosting.

Cristel Hunsicker, Hunsicker's wife and campaign manager, said she has provided proof the expense was reported, in addition to a strong rebuke.

"Mr. Robert Avery brought this totally frivolous and baseless complaint against my husband and slandering him in the process by sending copies of the complaint to no less than 36 parties, starting with the Attorney General, City of Largo Commission, seven Largo employees, every TV station and newspaper in this area," Hunsicker wrote in a response earlier this month. "How many more hours and thousands of dollars will be spent on this frivolous complaint?"

Dominick Tao can be reached at dtao@sptimes.com or (727) 580-2951.

Largo candidate's ethics charges baseless, panel rules 12/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 4:47pm]
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