ST. PETERSBURG — In his responses to a Tampa Bay Times' questionnaire, District 8 council candidate Steve Galvin was clear and concise. Asked whether he had any children, he wrote "None." Asked if he'd ever been sued, he wrote "No."
Neither answer, it turns out, bore any relation to the truth.
Galvin admitted on Friday that he'd fathered a child with a California woman with whom he had an affair in 2004 while he was in a long distance relationship with his now-wife. Two years later, the woman sued him for child support, a dispute that ended when Galvin agreed to pay her $243 a month.
"I had a child as a result of a one night stand that I've never seen or had any relationship with other than to send money every month," he said. "I have been denied any contact, so for all intents and purposes, I have no child in my life."
Galvin's admission came a day after he told a Times reporter that the case had been dismissed. It had wrapped up years ago and "everything was dealt with," he insisted. He'd denied being involved in any litigation, he continued, because he didn't consider a legal demand for child support "being sued."
Confronted with court records from Orange County, Calif., Galvin said he hadn't wanted to tell anyone about the three-year child support battle or his son, who turns 8 next month. "I didn't mention it because I didn't want to go through this pain publicly," he said.
Considered a serious candidate in the District 8 race, Galvin, 55 a music producer, has been running on his background in home construction and historic preservation. He has struggled to raise money and has loaned his campaign $12,000 thus far.
The episode should not change the way voters' perceive him, he said Friday. "It has nothing to do with running for office," he said. "I made a mistake and it's my cross to bear."
While it's clear that Galvin's wife knew about the affair — she is an attorney and helped him with his legal defense early on — his campaign manager, Johnny Bardine, was in the dark.
"This is the first I'm hearing of it," he said on Friday.
Galvin met Suzanne Rasque online, according to court documents, when he was still living in California. She sued him in 2006, claiming he owed her thousands of dollars in unpaid child support. In response, Galvin said that, to his knowledge, he had no children and further, that he didn't recognize Rasque's name.
"Respondent is of the belief that the support order entered against him is the result of mistaken identity, identity theft, or fraud," the records state. He asked for a paternity test.
The results of that test are confidential, but records show that at the end of three years of legal wrangling, Galvin agreed to monthly support payments. A 2009 government form asked him to number how many children he had.
He wrote "1."
Contact Anna M. Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8779.