Saturday, August 23, 2008

MARK LAFONTAINE RESPONDS TO SCOTT NEWTON’S DESPERATE SMEAR

MARK LAFONTAINE RESPONDS TO SCOTT NEWTON’S DESPERATE, LAST-MINUTE SMEAR

Florida House District 92 candidate Mark LaFontaine issued the following statement in response to Scott Newton’s desperate, last minute smear mailing that hit mailboxes this weekend.
Weekend Mailer Rehashes Disproven Charges to Change the Subject from Newton ’s Poor Management of Wilton Manors’ Finances

“It’s always interesting to see the type of character a person exudes as an individual, especially when that person is a candidate for public office.

“As an Eagle Scout and military veteran, I want to be sure that voters know that I am an open book when it comes to my past. Since I filed for the District 92 House seat last year in March, I have invited voters to research me on the Internet, and to read about my past history, my present civic activities and my future goals for the community when elected as the next Florida State Representative for District 92. The character traits that I cherish most about myself are my honesty and integrity.

“I admit, and this is not news: I have a few knocks against me. But in the interest of full disclosure, let me be up front about what they are, lest voters get swayed by misleading direct mail.

The truth on my “domestic dispute” “In 1992, I had a domestic dispute with my longtime partner over a personal issue, which was verbal in nature. The police arrived at our apartment and asked me to leave -- I refused. I was then jumped on, beaten (suffering two cracked vertebrae) and arrested, spending about 5 days in jail, clothed only in a pair of jogging shorts and placed in the ‘AIDS faggot’ cell. The police report indicated a series of events that did not take place, resulting in 4 serious charges. In fact, my partner at the time was told to sign the statement or face imprisonment himself.

“The two most severe charges were dropped because they never happened, and I plead ‘no-contest’ to the others based upon the advice of counsel. There was no conviction under the plea deal and adjudication was withheld. I dispute the charges in the original report and have a sworn affidavit from my former partner declaring what happened and what didn’t, although I agree there was no excuse for those actions that happened when I was in my early 20s. The truth on my “traffic issues” “In 2003, I was involved in a car accident. At no time was I cited, ticketed or arrested. As is typical in these situations, there was a judgment against me personally from the other drivers’ insurance company, and my license was suspended and my registration delayed. I was not made aware of this judgment until 2006 and in fact was led to believe that my insurance company – which is now out of business -- would pay the claim. Once notified, I took immediate steps to make monthly payments and am pursuing my legal options against my insurance company for full settlement of the claim.

The truth on my “eviction situation”
“After Hurricane Wilma, several tenants, myself included, told the management company of our Fort Lauderdale apartment complex that we were not able to pay our rent on time due to the lack of business/work immediately following the hurricane and its devastating effect on the local economy. Everyone who was here then remembers what it was like for several weeks – no school, no work, no electricity or phones. I knew my clientele of mainly small businesses would be back on their own feet themselves and all would be taken care of within the month. The management company took an unusually hard line against the tenants, and said that anyone who was late would be evicted. The management company had my last month and security deposit for the outstanding rent, which they kept. No funds were outstanding when I moved out of the building. I will note that my subsequent landlords have always been paid on time, as they will all attest.

What this all means

“Let me be clear, I take full responsibility for my actions and what has happened to me over the years. I’m human and I’ve made mistakes. I’ve been kicked down and I always pick myself up again. That’s why I have a direct connection to the voters. Real people have real problems, and they want to support someone who has lived and understands their problems.

“As an accountant, my clients rely upon me to manage their financial situations and to guide them in their decisions. While my personal life has had some bumps, my clients have praised my professionalism and dedication to my work. This will be true of the community as well.

“I can stand before the voters and say, ‘Here’s the situation. And here’s how I fixed it.’ That’s the approach I’ll take if I’m elected. I could have had my records expunged or sealed so they were hidden, but actively chose not to. I have nothing to hide.
“I’m proud of the campaign I have been running -- a positive, issues-oriented campaign that has reached out to voters throughout the district. I have major supporters, including US Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who recognizes that my accounting and financial experience, my military service, and my work in the Broward community will provide District 92 with a well-rounded representative.

“As a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, I needed to pass an intensive background screening by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard in order to receive my security clearance. All of these issues were raised, discussed and deemed not worthy of concern at the highest levels of the US Government.

“The bottom line: If voters want a Representative who is honest and with content in his character, then vote for me.

“By contrast, my opponent, Scott Newton, has been forced to change the subject from his poor fiscal management of Wilton Manors. Rather than the idyllic town Scott claims Wilton Manors to be, it is instead a poorly-run fiscal nightmare, as its own auditors found by issuing an adverse opinion. With more than $235,000 in unreconciled funds and more than $3.7 million in unrecorded assets, the audit found that Wilton Manors has ‘significant deficiencies’ in its record keeping and therefore cannot keep track of taxpayers’ funds.” For more information on this and other issues, including the Wilton Manors 2007 audit and Mark’s ad on that subject, please visit

http://www.marklafontaine.com/.






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