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. PolitiFact takes on big health care question: Does GOP bill cut Medicaid?


    Politics and math don't always get along, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway raised a common complaint about how people talk about the future of Medicaid spending under the Senate Republican health care bill.

    Alice Jacobs, 90, at Dogwood Village, a nonprofit county-owned nursing home in Orange, Va., on June 23. Medicaid, targeted by Republicans' health care bill, pays for most of the 1.4 million elderly people in nursing homes, some of whom do not know they are on it. (Khue Bui/The New York Times)
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. Gov. Scott in Washington as health care debate intensifies


    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday began a daylong series of meetings in Washington on health care, saying he wants to ensure Florida gets its share of Medicaid funding while praising parts of the Senate GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa on June 13.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?


    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  5. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]