Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Panel says ex-Hillsborough Commissioner Brian Blair likely broke campaign finance law

TAMPA — The Florida Elections Commission has found probable cause that former Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair violated state law in his unsuccessful re-election bid last fall.

An investigator for the commission says Blair twice accepted more than the $500 state limit from individual donors during his primary bid. The investigator wrote that the review also turned up evidence of other excessive donations, but they weren't investigated because they weren't mentioned in the complaint against Blair filed by community activist George Niemann.

During a meeting last month, the results of which are now public, the Elections Commission voted 4-1 to find probable cause that Blair violated campaign finance law. Blair is accused of accepting two checks totaling $600 from the engineering firm Mai, Couch & Associates, as well as two $500 checks from maritime shipping company A.R. Savage & Son.

Accepting the checks, Blair said, was an honest mistake that wasn't caught by campaign management software or his treasurer, former county Commissioner Joe Chillura. He said the excess money was returned to the donors as soon as he learned about it, which was after the complaint was filed.

"When you raise $250,000, there's bound to be a mistake," Blair said Wednesday. "It's amazing that such a minor oversight, which was remedied, has garnered so much attention."

He faces a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation.

Blair, a Republican, won his primary but was defeated in the general election by Democrat Kevin Beckner.

Panel says ex-Hillsborough Commissioner Brian Blair likely broke campaign finance law 03/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man arrested in fatal motel shooting


    TAMPA — A 37-year-old Tampa man was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday for the death of Yasmine L. Tyson on Monday night.

     Christopher Lee Carithers, 37, of Tampa, was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday  for the shooting death of Yasmine L. Tyson in a hotel Monday night. [Tampa Police Department]
  2. St. Pete's Downtown Looper expands service with $900,000 grant



    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG ­— The Downtown Looper will expand its route and its hours starting in October 2018 thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

  3. Latest sewage crisis fallout: Higher utility bills in St. Pete

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — For months the cost of the city's sewage crisis has been measured in terms of environmental damage, legal ramifications and political repercussions.

    Now residents are about to get the bill.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage during the height of the city's sewage crisis. Now the City Council is considering how much to raise utility rates to pay the $326 million bill to fix St. Petersburg's sewage system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets


    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.
  5. Florida's legal losses up to $19 million and counting since 2011


    From Gary Fineout of the Associated Press:

    This is getting expensive.