St. Pete money wars
With less than a month until St. Petersburg residents vote, mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman still leads the cash wars.
But Mayor Bill Foster is gaining steam. Through the most recent reporting period, the incumbent now has more cash on hand to spend before the Aug. 27 primary. Kathleen Ford still lags behind Foster and Kriseman in raising money.
Between July 1-19, Kriseman raised $15,090, bumping his total to $124,781. He currently has $69,905 to spend. Foster collected $22,132 in the same period, raising his total to $115,733. He has $85,787 on hand.
Ford, who is seeking the job for the third time, collected only $5,675 and raised her total to $26,535. She has $18,395 available.
The finance reports show no surprises for the three major candidates, all lawyers and former City Council members.
Foster's report shows that prominent civic activist Bill Edwards donated. City Hall watchers wondered when the millionaire would give money. He and his wife each donated $500 to Foster.
The Edwards cash irked city activist Vince Cocks.
The Pinellas Point resident pleaded with the City Council to sever Edwards' relationships with the city. He operates the city-owned Mahaffey Theater.
The Federal Trade Commission recently levied a record $7.5 million fine against Edwards' Mortgage Investors Corp. for calling millions of people on the Do Not Call Registry.
Cocks blasted Edwards' business practices and told the council, "Do you think it's acceptable that St. Petersburg readily accepts treasure from this man when he's made money in likely illegal but certainly immoral ways?
Playing through pain
After hobbling to the dais with a cane Thursday, council member Bill 'Coach" Dudley winced with pain throughout the five-hour meeting. He recently had a knee replaced. He acknowledged he could have stayed home, but said he needed to fulfill his duties.
Pinellas County commissioners recently filed their financial disclosure forms with the state, revealing that two among them are millionaires. Here's a breakdown of their net worth — each commissioner earns about $90,000 a year:
Charlie Justice: $11,324, with income from commissioner's salary and his previous job at USF St. Petersburg
Susan Latvala: $2.3 million, with a total income of $166,658 from commissioner's salary as well as her ownership share of American Vascular Access
Janet Long: $439,000, with a total income of about $53,800 from commissioner's salary, state retirement funds, Social Security, and the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg.
John Morroni: $743,726; he filed a joint tax return with his wife, listing a total income of $175,549
Norm Roche: $102,000, with income from commissioner's salary
Karen Seel: $3.89 million, with a total income of $117,905 from investments and commissioner's salary
Ken Welch: $182,408, with income from commissioner's salary
Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at twitter.com/markpuente. Contact Anna M. Phillips at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow her on Twitter @annamphillips