Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Political opponent says Leslie Waters should resign from Seminole council

SEMINOLE — City Council candidate Tom Christy has called for incumbent Leslie Waters to resign because, he says, she has broken state election and ethics laws.

The alleged violation happened last summer when Waters, who is running for re-election, was a candidate for the state Senate. The Seminole city clerk emailed copies of a flier for a fundraiser Waters had on July 14 to the other City Council members and City Manager Frank Edmunds.

That, said Christy, violates laws barring candidates from using government equipment for personal or political reasons. In this case, he said, Waters used the clerk's time and city equipment while on city property (City Hall) to send out the flier, which advertised a fundraiser sponsored by Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson and council members Jim Quinn, Bob Matthews and Thom Barnhorn.

When he heard about the flier distribution, Christy said, he "cringed a little."

"I was taken back. I knew right away that something wasn't right there," he said. "When I heard about it, I said immediately, 'No, that can't be right.'

"We're talking about a career politician that's been around. She should have known better. … I think she should step down."

Waters said Christy's call for her to resign is "uncalled for, disrespectful, … ridiculous. … This is just being petty."

Waters said she had no idea the flier had been sent out until she got her copy. Seminole, she said, traditionally sends out fliers and other notices as a way to keep council members and Edmunds informed about community happenings.

Edmunds said he believes the flier came into City Hall as part of a monthly mailing from the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. It was scanned into the computer system and sent along with other items from the chamber.

He agreed that the city sends out copies of political fliers to the council. During the holidays, notices of open houses held by state representatives Larry Ahern and Jim Frishe were also emailed to the council.

"If it's political in nature, we just send it to the elected officials (so that) we've made them aware of whatever the event is," Edmunds said.

But Christy said that's no excuse.

"I'm not going to blame it on the city. That's too easy," Christy said.

Waters, 64, is a former state representative who left office because of term limits. She was elected to the Seminole council in 2009. Last year, she announced she would run against fellow Republican Frishe for the state Senate seat now held by Dennis Jones, R-Seminole. She raised about $31,000 for that campaign. Last month, she withdrew from that race and announced she would run for re-election to the City Council.

Waters said she has followed state law regarding the money she raised while running for the Senate by offering to return a prorated amount to contributors. Thus far, she said, no Seminole contributors have asked for their money back.

But Christy, 60, said he is unhappy with that solution.

"We can't compete with that," he said of local candidates, who generally don't raise much money. Every dollar should go back to contributors, he said. A career politician could manipulate the system by deliberately running for one office, collecting a lot of money and then switching to a smaller race, he said.

The election for the Seminole City Council is March 13. Five candidates are running for the two open seats. They are Waters, Christy, incumbent Patricia Plantamura, Christopher Burke and Sheryl Goff. Christy and Burke have run before. Goff is a political newcomer.

Reach Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Political opponent says Leslie Waters should resign from Seminole council 01/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]