TAMPA - David Straz has a steep climb to overtake Jane Castor in the final 32 days before Tampa picks its next mayor. He said he wouldn’t shy from throwing mud as long as it’s honest and truthful.
The 76-year-old retired banker, whose estimated net worth is $426 million, took an interesting angle for his first assault: Money.
On Thursday, the Straz campaign released a TV ad saying one of Tampa’s richest men wouldn’t accept the $160,742 paycheck that comes with the mayor’s office.
The Straz campaign may not have intended to remind voters about another politician who doesn’t accept the salary that comes with the office: President Donald Trump.
Straz voted for Trump, then repeatedly apologized for casting that ballot. He’s said he doesn’t agree with the president’s values.
The ad also shows Castor, Tampa’s top cop from 2009 to 2015, chomping on an ice cream cone to illustrate that she would be getting a police pension as well as her salary if she wins on April 23.
Castor’s pension was reported by the Tampa Bay Times in 2014 to be about $113,000 a year with an expected 1 to 3 percent annual cost-of-living increase. Castor, now 59, collected her pension and the police chief’s salary for about a year after Mayor Bob Buckhorn asked her to stay on as chief past her mandated retirement date. She left the police chief’s job in 2015.
Castor’s campaign had this reply about what they called a “stunt”: “Jane has been a cop all her life. If she owned a $1 million dollar mausoleum, an offshore bank in Nevis, private planes, more than $170 million in art, six fancy homes, and drove around in a Bentley, she certainly would not take the salary either. That would be absurd," read a statement from Castor campaign manager Tim Wagner.
The Straz campaign later issued a release stating that Straz does not own the Bank of Nevis Limited, but has a 9.64 percent share in the financial institution located in the West Indies nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The release also addressed Straz’s Bentley.
“Straz does own and drive a Bentley but he is more likely to be seen in his American-made Cadillac or Dodge Charger,” read the statement by Straz campaign spokesman Jarrod Holbrook.