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  1. Florida Politics

As Carlos Beruff attacks Marco Rubio's attendance record, his own reads less than perfect

TALLAHASSEE — Carlos Beruff is making Marco Rubio's poor attendance record in Congress a central part of his campaign, labeling the first-term senator "No-Show Marco."

In campaign materials and interviews, the self-funded Republican real estate developer slams Rubio for skipping dozens of votes in the U.S. Senate while he was running for president.

But over the past two years, Beruff has had his own attendance issues as a member of the board of trustees for a community college in Manatee County. State College of Florida records show that Beruff was absent for nine of 19 board of trustees meetings from August 2014 through April of this year. Just since October, he has missed six of seven meetings of the volunteer board.

Beruff insists that half of those absences are a paperwork glitch.

He said he submitted his resignation to Gov. Rick Scott's office in February, but the State College of Florida kept marking him absent. State College of Florida trustees met twice in February, for a workshop and a regular monthly meeting, and Beruff was absent both times.

"The State College of Florida has an issue," Beruff said during an interview Wednesday in Lutz. "They can't keep up with the paperwork."

But records from the governor's office show Beruff's letter of resignation was dated March 18 and not received by Scott's office until March 22, the day Beruff missed his third consecutive meeting.

Beruff was marked absent again for an April 26 meeting, and on May 31 he was not included in the roll call.

Beruff has never held elective office, but in 2009, then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed the college dropout to three public boards, including making him a trustee for the State College of Florida.

Beruff's attendance record for the other unpaid boards has been nearly spotless. On the board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Beruff did not miss a single meeting during his final year, from September 2014 to August 2015.

On the board of the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport Authority, where Beruff is still an active board member, he has missed just one of nine meetings since the start of 2015, according to official minutes kept by the agency.

Times staff writer Josh Solomon contributed to this report. Contact Jeremy Wallace at jwallace@tampabay.com or (850)224-7263. Follow @jeremyswallace.

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