1. Pasco

Wrong account gets Port Richey candidate kicked off ballot

ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times There will be no contested election for two Port Richey City Council seats in the April 9 election after challenger Joseph Parisi was disqualified.
ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times There will be no contested election for two Port Richey City Council seats in the April 9 election after challenger Joseph Parisi was disqualified.
Published Mar. 13, 2019

Two incumbent Port Richey City Council members won re-election Tuesday when their only challenger was kicked off the ballot.

Challenger Joseph Anthony Parisi was disqualified from the April 9 election after Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley discovered the candidate had paid the qualifying fee to the city with a personal check drawn from the account of Janet Slusarz, Parisi's live-in partner and campaign treasurer. Under state law, the qualifying fee must be paid with a check drawn from the candidate's campaign account.

"I'm very disappointed. Absolutely,'' Parisi said Tuesday afternoon.

The error means incumbents William "Will'' Detmer and Jennie L. Sorrell return to the council without a challenge. Under the city's election format, the top two voter-getters would have won the council seats.

A referendum question remains on the April 9 ballot for Port Richey voters. They are being asked if the city charter should be changed so the city manager can be dismissed by a three-person majority of the council, rather than a four-fifths majority.

A special election to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of former mayor Dale Massad is scheduled for June 18. Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Massad after he was charged with practicing medicine without a license and five counts of premeditated attempted murder after deputies said he fired at them as they attempted to raid his Port Richey home last month.

The Feb. 12 check from the account of Slusarz should not have been accepted by City Clerk Sal Licari as the qualifying fee payment, Corley said.

"I feel bad for (Parisi), but it's not our issue, it's Port Richey's issue,'' Corley said.

The discrepancy came to light Monday when the Supervisor of Elections Office was verfying Parisi's campaign treasurer report and noticed the $43.20 check from Slusarz for city filing fees was listed as an in-kind contribution. It asked Licari for a copy of the check and then conferred with the general counsel for the Florida Division of Elections before notifying Parisi and the city of the disqualification.

Parisi, 59, already had loaned his campaign $1,000, giving him the fund-raising lead through Monday. He said he planned to seek a council seat in the future.

"I had a lot of backing, a lot of support. I'll be back,'' Parisi said. "I'm a Chicago boy. We don't give up.''

Contact Charles Bowen at or (813) 435-7306. Follow @CTBowen2.


  1. A wrong-way driver headed south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Pasco County caused a crash that resulted in the death of a 45-year-old motorcyclist, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Over a three-year period ending in 2018, the county averaged 97 traffic fatalities annually. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. New Port Richey City Hall
  3. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  4. The attendance zones for Northwest, Gulf Highlands and Fox Hollow elementary schools would shift under a proposed rezoning that also includes the closing of Hudson Elementary.
  5. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  6. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  7. The fields are set for the April municipal elections in Pasco County. Times (2012)
  8. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  9. Pasco County commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday governing upkeep of empty property after residents complained about the condition of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, which closed in June 2019.
  10. Pasco County community news
  11. Jacqueline Ortiz and Francisco Medero were the first couple to exchange wedding vows during a special Valentine's Day ceremony held in historic Courtroom 1 at the Hernando County Courthouse in Brooksville. County judges Kristie Healis (pictured) and Kurt Hitzemann took turns officiating the ceremonies that were scheduled at 15-minute intervals throughout the day.
  12. Iriann Paynewhite of Dade City enjoys a ride on a lady bug on opening day at the Pasco County Fair. The fair continues through Feb. 23 at the county fairgrounds in Dade City.