Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GOP state House candidate James Grant faces elections law violation complaints

TAMPA — A $40,000 personal loan to his campaign has prompted three election law violation complaints against state House candidate James Grant.

The complaints, filed by Hillsborough County Democratic Party vice chairman Chris Mitchell, charge that the loan is in fact an illegal campaign contribution from First Citrus Bank. The complaints also accuse Grant of violating elections law by racking up expenses in his primary campaign without having the money to cover them, and accepting contributions within five days of the primary election — which state law prohibits.

Grant, the son of former state Sen. John Grant, is the Republican candidate for the District 47 state House seat, which represents northwest Hillsborough county. He'll face Democrat Michael Steinberg in November.

Grant called the elections complaints a political stunt and said he has done nothing wrong.

"A bank can lend to a person and a person can be on the hook," Grant said Wednesday. "My bank loaned to me and I made a loan from me to the James Grant campaign."

But Mitchell said Wednesday he wants to know why a bank would give a three-month, $40,000 loan to a 28-year-old man who, according to state-required financial disclosure forms filed to qualify for the ballot, has a negative net worth of $5,780.

"Something doesn't smell right here," Mitchell said.

He questions whether Grant's father helped secure the loan or if bank president John Barrett was trying to skirt the $500 campaign contribution limit. Barrett made a $100 personal contribution to Grant's campaign.

"There had to be some strings pulled for James Grant to get his loan," Mitchell said.

Grant, though, said he went to the bank with enough collateral to back the loan.

"It's a fully collateralized loan made payable to me personally," Grant said, noting that he could have used the money for anything, from buying a car to paying bills. But he chose to use it for his election campaign.

"At the end of the day I'm still responsible," Grant said. "They're literally holding a certificate of deposit that would come straight from me if I defaulted on the loan."

Mitchell also alleges that Grant violated state law by authorizing payments from his campaign account when he didn't have the money to cover the expenses.

As evidence, Mitchell points to state records that show Grant made the loan to his campaign on Aug. 19, and he paid $35,800 to Desumo Strategies, a Virginia-based political consultant, on Sept. 3.

Mitchell alleges that expense was for mailers sent in the last days before the Aug. 24 primary election, when Grant was in a tight, four-way contest for the nomination. According to Mitchell, that timing means Grant must have reached an agreement with Desumo before Aug. 19.

State records also show Grant received four campaign contributions within four days of the Aug. 24 primary. They include donations of $500 each from his mother and father. According to state law, candidates cannot accept contributions within five days of an election.

The complaint now goes to the Florida Elections Commission for review.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

GOP state House candidate James Grant faces elections law violation complaints 10/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  2. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  3. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  4. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  5. Candidates for governor get emotional talking about their gay siblings


    Occasionally in today's hyper-rehearsed and contrived world of political campaigns one witnesses moments that are so honest and real, we can't help but understand we're not just listening to another politician give his or her stump speech; We're listening to a human being who understands personal pain at least as well …

    Chris King talking to reporters in Tallahassee