Ritter Campaign: Receipts Tell More of Story

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​I'm digging into the Florida Elections Commission reports on Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter's campaign case, and a few things quite literally don't add up.

Then again, nothing about Ritter's campaign makes sense. It appears to have been a big-spending free-for-all.  

When examining the actual receipts for the roughly $15,000 in FEC-investigated reimbursed expenses that went to Ritter and, much more so, to her lobbyist husband, Russell Klenet, I noticed that the receipts for the Fresh Market, an upscale grocer, were incomplete. In short, there are lots of missing items. 

For instance, on the $405.94 receipt pictured above, the items listed add up to under $150. The only thing of substance listed is a seven-pound "angus roast" that cost $90.54. Notice the dark line on the receipt? Other Fresh Market receipts had similar breaks and were missing several hundred dollars in items between them.   

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Have those receipts been tampered with? Have some of the items purchased been cut out? We'll have to wait for the explanation, but I sure would like to see what's missing.

You also see a big receipt from Emeril's Miami Beach up above. Again, I'd like to know who exactly was entertained and why a commission race centered in north Broward would hold any type of event or meeting on Miami Beach. At left, there's a $153.89 Target charge that includes pillows, bath products, a rug, two tote bags, and set of sheets. A campaign slumber party, perhaps? No explanation comes on the $1,889 charge to the Diplomat Hotel & Spa, except that it included a $350 tip from Klenet.

The driving force here is clearly Klenet, a lobbyist whom Ritter promised would stand at arm's length from her elected position as a commissioner. His name is all over these charges, and he was reimbursed for the lion's share of them. Several of the receipts are marked with a notation "meeting with supporter." What does that mean? Wouldn't just about anybody Russ or his wife dine with be considered a supporter?

Also it's well to remember that Ritter ran unopposed. Remember that $156 limo charge I wrote about yesterday? That was charged by Ritter to attend a Democratic National Committee event in Chicago. Here's the receipt:

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​I'm not sure a limo ride to a swank hotel for a national Democratic convention in Chicago should qualify as a campaign expense for Ritter, though she apparently claims otherwise. On a notation under the charge, she writes, "DNC event, meet with FL." She also charged $20 to her campaign for parking at the airport during the trip.

At the time, of course, Ritter was supporting Barack Obama for president and angling for a job in the White House. That ambition seemed to have been squelched by other mini-scandals, including her hubbie's close involvement with Mutual Benefits fraudster Joel Steinger, who renovated the couple's home in Parkland to the tune of more than $100,000.

Inside, see a complete list of reimbursed expenses that were investigated by the FEC.

 

RITTER/KLENET CAMPAIGN EXPENSES

B.F. Chang's $70.31
Cafe Bella Sera $163.80
Emeril's $769.80
Westside Bagels $41.96
The Fresh Market $405.94
Cafe Bella Sera $322.30
Jackson's Steakhouse $332.19
Riley McDermott's $88.67
Cafe Bella Sera $118.26
Applebee's $26.58
Westside Bagels $54.71
Pasta $68.01
Unknown $354.32
Friday's $64.95
Chop's Lobster Bar $682.80
Ario the Baker $31,81
Cafe Bella Sera $149.73
Michael's Genuine Food $289.76
The Fresh Market $10.59
Truluck's of Boca Raton $265.88
Diplomat Resort & Spa $299.83
Stir Crazy $60.48
The Fresh Market $210.82
Target $153.89
The Fresh Market $301.30
East City Grill $171.67
Riley McDermott's $153.26
Champps Amerricanna $32.04
Chucks Steakhouse $15.14
Big Bear Brewing Co. $35.16
15th Street Fish $28.59
B.F. Chang's 104.40
J. Alexander's $66.65
Runyon's $95.66
B.F. Chang's $108.65
Charley's Crab $142.09
B.F Chang's $119.64 
Friday's $60.73
Carey International Inc. (Limo service) $156.89
Friday's $81.60
Westside Bagels $63.42
Runyons $95.66
Michael's Genuine Fomiami Restaurant $287.76
Johnny V $43,04
Bluefine Sushi $93.28
Arena Operating Co. (Ice Resurfacer) $1,229.00
Mythos Restaurant $33.40
Jackson's Steakhouse $346.30
Spirit Airlines $20
Himmarshee Bar & Grill $61.15
The Cheesecake Factmy $59.03
Walgreens $81.08
Publix $115.78
Jackson's Steakhouse $54.06
Jackson's Steakhouse $45.80
The Fresh Market $110.56
Jackson's Steakhouse $14.54
Jackson's Steakhouse $620.92
Jackson's Steakhouse $103.67
Westside Bagel $33.01
Blue Fin $113.28
Himmarshee Bar & Grill $61.15
Friday's $56.71
Flanigan's $29.97
The Cheesecake Factory $80.42
Lucky Dragon $96.02
Diplomat Resmt & Spa $1889.31
Westside Bagel $66.77
Westside Bagel $51.04
Giordano's of Prudential Plaza $27.10
Jackson's Steakhouse $346.20
Riley's McDermott's $44.25
El Mariachi $52.25
Jackson's Steakhouse $134.84
Unknown $319.24
Unknown $50.81
Westside Bagel $42.87
Publix $57.41
Office Depot $40.00
Red Lobster $77.54
Friday's $61.99
Cafe Bella Sera $393.60
Bm's Coconut Creek $49.50
B.F. Chang's $80.19
Ritz-Carlton (Valet Parking) $24.00

(Source: Florida Elections Commission)


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