What if you threw a political party and the guest of honor didn't come? It happened on Sunday to a South Florida cardiologist who was throwing a fund-raiser for Gov. Bob Martinez.
Dr. Ali Ghahramani decked out his suburban Boca Raton home with a banner, balloons, flowers in the swimming pool. He brought in catered food, four cases of Dom Perignon champagne and valet parking attendants.
When Martinez's running mate, Allison DeFoor and his entourage showed up instead of the governor, Ghahramani was crushed.
"He did not even have the courtesy to call me," Ghahramani said.
Now he is returning the donations to the 175 guests ($500 per person was suggested).
"Under the circumstances, it would be totally unfair" to turn the money over to the Martinez campaign, he said.
Martinez's campaign manager, J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, blamed the problem on a schedule breakdown, noting DeFoor has subbed for the governor before without incident.
"He (Ghahramani) is the only one who held his breath until his face turned red, fell to the ground and pitched a fit," Stipanovich said. "That's not a very mature reaction."
Rising travel costs are a real trip
TALLAHASSEE _ At a time when state employees were being told to limit trips, travel costs for Gov. Martinez and three Cabinet offices soared.
Travel for Martinez and his staff increased 41 percent between July 1 and Sept. 30, compared with the same period last year. The governor's office spent $206,900 during that period, according to state records. The office spent $146,900 on trips during the same period last year, the Tampa Tribune reported Tuesday.
The offices of Attorney General Bob Butterworth and Treasurer Tom Gallagher showed 24 percent increases during the quarter. The office of Secretary of State Jim Smith recorded 8 percent more travel.
Butterworth's office spent $194,700, compared with $157,500 last year. In Gallagher's office, travel increased to $703,400 _ up from $569,000 for the same three months in 1989.
Spokesmen for the offices in question said campaigning has nothing to do with the travel increases. Butterworth has no election opponent. Among the reasons cited for the higher costs were expanded duties and costlier air fares.
The other three Cabinet offices _ education, banking and agriculture _ saw declines in travel costs. Comptroller Gerald Lewis trimmed his 7.6 percent, retiring Agriculture Commissioner Doyle Conner cut his by 3.5 percent, and Education Commission Betty Castor cut hers by 3.1 percent.
_ Compiled from Associated Press reports.