Jamie Bennett tarred by allegations from ex-campaign manager

05/11/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

According to a campaign organizer fired last week, St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Jamie Bennett intentionally tried to influence neighborhood presidents and community leaders with free baseball tickets to the city's suite at Tropicana Field.

That's according to Peter Schorsch, Bennett's former campaign manager, in comments made to the St. Petersburg Times on Sunday. Schorsch also said Bennett attempted to discredit other candidates, and attempted dirty campaign tactics – such as trying to disrupt the press conferences of Kathleen Ford and Bill Foster, former City Council colleagues also running for mayor.

WMNF attempted to speak with Bennett today. He did not return our phone call for comment.

Wayne Garcia is the political editor of the Tampa Bay area alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He says these revelations by Schorsch – true or not- will severely hurt Jamie Bennett’s mayoral campaign.

Schorsch was arrested in 2006 on grand theft charges, and pleaded no contest in 2007 to defrauding Ed Helm and Eve Joy, who ran for mayor and the St. Pete City Council respectively in 2005. Before that he worked for – and was fired by – St Peterburg City Council members Leslie Curran and Ernest Williams.

In 2006, Schorsch was charged with writing 16 worthless checks totaling more than $1,200 for cash at Publix. He pleaded guilty and was fined.

Peter Schorsch writes on his blog today that he believes Bennett should quit his campaign.

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