Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Real estate broker files to run in Hillsborough Property Appraiser race

TAMPA — Real estate broker James DeMio on Tuesday filed to run as a Democratic candidate for the Hillsborough County property appraiser.

DeMio, 46, is the broker/owner of Florida Property International in Tampa. He had no party affiliation until February, records show, when he became a Democrat.

He is also the nephew of former U.S. Rep. Rose Oakar of Cleveland. In 1995, DeMio pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge for his admitted role in what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to mask thousands of dollars in contributions for Oakar's 1992 campaign.

He received two years of probation and a $2,500 fine.

In court papers, DeMio said then he had worked with his aunt to create the illusion that multiple donors were backing her final campaign for the House in 1992, which she ultimately lost. He said he had borrowed $28,000 from a businessman and decided with Oakar to put some of it into her campaign account, breaking a large sum into multiple donations and telling the Federal Election Commission that the money had come from others, according to an Associated Press report.

In an interview Tuesday, DeMio said his only crime was mistakenly giving Oakar more money than federal law allowed. He said he borrowed the money to help his aunt at his mother's request.

"I think it's 20 years ago," DeMio said. "It's family money. I could've given the money directly to her. The fact that I gave it to her campaign was an issue."

According to his news release, DeMio received his bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1989 in business and finance. He was an administrator of the Housing Court division of the Cleveland Municipal Court.

In the statement, he said he "pledges to change the culture at the property appraiser's office to make the process more open and fairer to everyone in Hillsborough County."

Republican Rob Turner has been the county property appraiser since 1996. He has filed for re-election and raised more than $32,560 so far, records show. A no-party candidate, Rob Townsend, also has filed to run.

The news release included comments from county Democratic Party Chairman Chris Mitchell.

"The current property appraiser has been quick to raise taxes on property owners when times were booming, but slow to reduce taxes during our current economic downturn. All property owners throughout Hillsborough County need help and deserve better representation," Mitchell said in the statement. "James DeMio will bring his background, experience and qualifications to the property appraiser's office and establish a new openness and fairness to the current process."

Property appraisers do not set property tax rates; rates are voted on by other government agencies.

Asked about that, DeMio said Turner hadn't reduced property values as quickly as he raised them.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Real estate broker files to run in Hillsborough Property Appraiser race 04/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Metal engine cover piece breaks off jet, falls from sky in Clearwater


    CLEARWATER — A piece of metal broke off a jet leaving St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Sunday morning, but the aircraft turned around and landed safely about 8:40 a.m., according to investigators.

  2. AP Top 25: USF stays ahead of UCF, but just barely


    USF remains ahead of UCF in the latest AP Top 25 poll - but just barely.

    Quinton Flowers and USF dropped one spot to No. 17 in the latest rankings.
  3. Lightning Strikes! podcast: Breaking down the Bolts' record start


    In this episode of our Lightning Strikes! podcast, we break down the Lightning's record 7-1-1 start. Why are Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos clicking so well? Why Mikhail Sergachev is likely here …

    Why are Steven Stamkos, pictured, and Nikita Kucherov clicking so well?
  4. Girl's fatal fall aboard cruise ship in Miami raises concerns over safety


    A child's fatal fall aboard a cruise ship a week ago appears to be an unusual accident, but it still may raise concerns about safety for potential passengers traveling with children.

    Friends and family mourn Zion Smith, the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death aboard a Carnival cruise in Miami this weekend. [Image from Facebook]
  5. My AP Top 25 ballot: UCF moves into the top 15, Michigan falls out


    No major changes in my latest AP Top 25 ballot.