Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mailing slams Jack Mariano, but raises questions about rival Ginny Miller, too

Ginny Miller was for a tourist tax-funded tennis stadium in Wesley Chapel before she was against it. Or maybe she's still for it.

It's hard to tell, because Miller, a Democrat, refused to say definitively Friday where she stands on the $7.9-million project, beset for years by delays.

However, a mailing by the Florida Democratic Party uses the project to hit County Commissioner Jack Mariano, her Republican opponent in Tuesday's election.

"Jack Mariano voted to spend nearly $8-million tourism tax dollars to build a tennis stadium that will benefit a developer — then took campaign money from the developer!" the mailing says, among other charges.

That's true. Mariano, who also sits on the Tourist Development Council, has supported the stadium on that panel and as a first-term commissioner. Saddlebrook owners Tom and Eleanor Dempsey, who would run the stadium, contributed a total of $2,000 to his campaign this year, finance records say.

Whoever wins Tuesday's election will vote on a final contract to run the complex.

But here's what the mailer doesn't say: Miller also voted for the tennis stadium in November 2002 as a member of the Tourist Development Council. The Times reported then that she noted Saddlebrook's record as a solid business put the project in good hands.

"I have approved a truthful comparison piece," Miller said Friday. "I probably have a position on it. I'm not saying I do or I don't."

But Pasco County Republican Party chairman Bill Bunting called the mailing "dirty politics."

"You know, the problem here is they're just not honest. That's it in a nutshell," Bunting said.

In 2002, the complex was estimated to cost $5.7-million. But its location was changed and construction costs increased. At its February 2007 meeting, the tourist council approved the higher-cost plan. Miller, who served on the tourism board when she was on the New Port Richey City Council, was absent for that vote.

On Friday, Miller said she missed the 2007 meeting because she didn't get a notice of the new location in time. She said she will tell voters her current position when "she's back up to date" on the project.

Pressed as to why, she said she hasn't participated in any debate over the project since then.

"You're bullying me," she told a Times reporter.

After almost six years, she didn't have enough information?

"No, why would I?" she said. "There are a ton of things that a candidate could not possibly know."

Mariano said the mailer was unfair. As for Miller's response?

"I think it speaks volumes … just with the information you've got there," Mariano said.

"Actions are louder than words."

David DeCamp can be reached at or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6232.

Mailing slams Jack Mariano, but raises questions about rival Ginny Miller, too 10/31/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 8:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. See you later, alligator! Reptile captured off Miami Beach (w/video)


    MIAMI BEACH — Police and wildlife officials captured an unwanted visitor on Miami Beach.

    An alligator was spotted swimming in the Atlantic Ocean near the South Pointe Park pier in Miami Beach on July 23, 2017. News outlets quoted viewers who said it took officials about two hours to capture the gator. No one was injured.

  2. Dog dies in hot car while owner cleans Florida condos

    Public Safety

    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Authorities say a 2-year-old Chihuahua died in a hot car while its owner was cleaning condominiums in Florida.

  3. Recipe for Nutty Quinoa Carbonara


    If you've never made carbonara, consider adding it to your weekday dinner lineup. It is a traditional Italian pasta dish in which eggs are mixed with cheese and then swirled into cooked pasta just before serving. The result is a luscious bowl of food you won't believe contains so few ingredients. This recipe swaps …

    Quinoa Carbonara. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  4. Jared Kushner says he has 'nothing to hide' on Russia (w/video)


    WASHINGTON — Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is denying that President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia, saying in a statement ahead of congressional interviews that he has "nothing to hide."

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington on June 22, 2017. [Associated Press]
  5. Forecast: Less stormy weather to start week in Tampa Bay before chances ramp back up


    After some stormy mornings throughout the weekend across Tampa Bay, Monday kicks off pretty quietly with a cloudy, yet mainly dry start.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]