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GOP challenger King drops out of race to unseat Brown-Waite

Jim King, the controversial GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, officially ended his campaign this week, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

King, 53, mailed a termination report to the agency July 14, five days after the St. Petersburg Times published a story revealing that he made inaccurate claims about his medical credentials and his time in Afghanistan in 2001.

The FEC received the document Monday and made it available late Wednesday.

It notes questionable campaign finance accounting and comes amid the discovery of more damaging information about King's past, including a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, a domestic violence injunction that led to a divorce and a stalking arrest, all from the mid 1990s in Collier County.

King, of Land O'Lakes, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

After the Times' initial investigation, King provided two documents to support his claims of being a doctor and professor. But neither substantiated any medical certifications or degrees.

One document was a pay stub showing he served as an instructor at Northern Virginia Community College in 1999, though it didn't identify what he taught. The other item appeared to be a page from an Institutes of Health course catalog showing King's name as the instructor for two Spanish classes designed for medical personnel in Naples. It is undated.

In the weeks since the revelations, King has consistently refused to respond to messages seeking further explanation. Attempts to contact all his supporters listed in campaign finance documents were unsuccessful. His campaign treasurer, Leo Dougherty of Spring Hill, said Thursday that he served temporarily but resigned May 13 when the work began to take too much time.

King identified fewer than 5 percent of his contributors, saying the bulk of his $55,000 came in donations less than $200. Those he did list were mostly family members.

In his final filing, he reported spending all his money on campaign literature, postage and travel costs. This included more than $3,000 in payments toward a car loan with GMAC — a questionable expenditure that at worst violates prohibitions about personal use of campaign funds and at best requires better accounting under "mixed use" guidelines.

King previously ran for elected office three times between 1992 and 2000 and his background was never questioned. But new documents unearthed by the Times reveal troubling material dating back more than a decade.

King filed for bankruptcy in June 1995, listing assets of $144,715 and debts totalling nearly $300,000. The court documents indicate King lived a comfortable lifestyle. He leased a 1993 Corvette for $25,000, bought a $75,000 1963 Beechcraft Queen Air plane and lost $1,500 gambling in the Bahamas.

He received workers' compensation pay and was involved in land deals in Ireland with his father, who was born in Britain. Court documents also suggest he owned a company called Medical Interpreters Inc., as he previously claimed, but the business is not listed in Florida corporation records, according to a recent search.

About the same time, King's wife filed for a domestic violence injunction and then divorce after six years of marriage, according to court documents. Dorothy Xanos King, who at the time worked as a case manager for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, declared she and King were incompatible.

In August 1995, King was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor stalking involving his estranged wife, court records show. After much legal wrangling, prosecutors allowed King to enter a pretrial diversion program. He successfully completed it six months later and the charge was dropped.

In a settlement, he and his wife agreed never to contact each other again. King's ex-wife could not be reached for comment.

Staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

GOP challenger King drops out of race to unseat Brown-Waite 07/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 3:14pm]
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