Did she do it? She says unequivocally no !
Things are deteriorating at City Hall. The City Commission, devoid of any leadership since Mayor Naugle went insane some years back, is left with a disjointed group of Commissioners, following the beat of their own drummers.
Some of them despise one another, and that played out last week when Commissioner Christine Teel dropped a bombshell during a City Commission meeting, accusing Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson of mailing campaign flyers for her Mayoral campaign from City Hall, using taxpayer money. Doing so would not only be an infraction of the law (currently punishable by a $100. fine under the City’s new ethics law), but a giant bonehead move that would seriously undermine her current political endeavors.
I talked to Hutchinson today at some length and she says it didn’t happen, at least she didn’t do any such mailing, and that she “is on it”.
What I’ve been able to find out, (which has been tough with the top-secrecy surrounding the issue), is that an envelope did appear in the City Commission offices, returned due to a bad address, and inside were Hutchinson for Mayor flyers, originally sent out of that office.
This is where it gets dicey.
No one will say where the secret envelope is. Seems to me the investigative process would start with the Department of Professional Regulation which has been completely “mum” on the issue, citing confidentiality clauses. Noone there would even state whether their office was involved in such an investigation, whether they had heard about the issue, even if they had ever seen a stamp!
Some things are certain to me. Evil things do happen in Politics. When I first ran for City Commissioner in 1997, I was blackmailed and told to get out of the race or else. Florida Department of Law Enforcement, secret wiretappings, and an arrest of a sitting City Commissioner for Felony Extortion resulted (read the best seller Politics 101, I was Robbed, Mugged, Blackmailed, and Ignored, So I Got Elected and Made a Difference, available at Border Books or directly from me!), so I personally know how nasty it can get.
So that gets me back to Hutchinson. When she told me without hesitation that she did not do it, I strongly encouraged her to go to the State’s Attorney’s Office and demands an independent investigation into political dirty tricks. I hope she shouts from the roof of City Hall that she is innocent, take a polygraph if neccessary, scream that she is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Any less will have me wondering.