BROOKSVILLE — Blaise Ingoglia is back to lift the curtain on what he calls another government gone wild.
This time, though, Ingoglia has set his sights on the federal government. And this time, he'll do it as chairman of the Hernando County Republican Party and with the support of a 13-member host committee packed with prominent GOP members.
Ingoglia announced two free seminars Thursday, sending to the media an invitation and flier full of bold type and exclamation points. The title: "Government Gone Wild: The Tea Party Edition … Government is Broke(n)."
"Find out how the federal government is bankrupting the nation and why your children and grandchildren will inherit a financial mess," the invitation says.
The first seminar is set for 6:30 p.m. on June 10 at Silverthorn Country Club in Brooksville. The second will take place at 6:30 p.m. on June 16 at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill. Registration is required to attend the seminars. Tickets will be mailed.
Though the host committee includes prominent Hernando Republicans like Ana Trinque, Tommy Bronson and Tom Hogan Jr., Ingoglia insists the seminars are not GOP events.
Both major parties are responsible for the country's financial condition, he said, and the seminars are meant to educate and motivate people of all political persuasions.
"This message transcends party lines," said Ingoglia, owner of Hartland Homes in Spring Hill. "If we continue along this path, it won't matter if you're Republican, Democrat or independent. We're all going to be in the same financial mess. We need to come together as citizens and stop this vicious cycle of overspending at the federal government level."
Ingoglia said he will use government statistics to explain "in layman's terms the pending disaster of the federal debt and deficits" and "demonstrate how big the federal government grew in the last 10 years." He said he'll show plenty of examples of wasteful spending.
That's the same format Ingoglia used for his 2007 Government Gone Wild seminars that targeted county government. Ingoglia credits those seminars for motivating hundreds of people to pack the county government center during budget hearings, "forcing the county to cut the budget, streamline government and reduce property taxes."
But they sparked plenty of controversy, too.
Ingoglia said the figures in the seminars came from the county and other places where the county prints information. But county officials disputed many of the key points, an analysis by the St. Petersburg Times also found various inaccuracies, and the Chamber of Commerce decided not to endorse the effort.
Anna Liisa Covell, a Brooksville businesswoman and county planning board member at the time, alleged that Ingoglia violated state election laws by not filing the necessary paperwork as a political committee before hosting costly seminars critical of county tax rates and spending practices. The Florida Elections Commission rejected the complaint as "legally insufficient."
Cy Wingrove, chairman of the Hernando County Democrats, said Thursday that he hadn't heard about the seminars and as far as he knew, no Democrats had been contacted, either.
"I'm sure it will be a very interesting seminar," Wingrove said. "The others were."
Though Wingrove said he'll probably be too busy to attend this time around, he and Ingoglia apparently agree on one thing.
"I think perhaps all of us are to blame for some of the things happening in the United States," Wingrove said. "It'd be nice if we could get the situation under control, but it's going to take time and it's going to take commitment from both our parties."
To find out about the seminars or to register, go to www.governmentgonewild.org or call (352) 942-4131.
Reporter Tony Marrero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 584-5537.