Greens commence a lawsuit in pursuit of the Florida Five
by Barbara Rodgers-Hendricks, Green Party of Florida
The “Florida Fiveî were introduced to the readers of Green Pages in Fall 2008 as five state house and senate candidates who changed their party affiliations at the last minute and paid filing fees to run as Greens.
In the Winter 2009 issue, facts were presented which suggested that the “Florida Fiveî were GOP moles . Without exception they were young people whose finances showed they could afford the $2,000 filing fees. The contested races were close. It didn’t happen, but the Greens could have garnered enough votes in each election to give the victory to the Republicans.
The Green Party of Florida secured the pro bono services of an attorney who filed a suit against one of the candidates on behalf of Jayne King, co-chair of the state Party. Sarah Roman was selected as the defendant because her financial records were most suspicious. In the lawsuit King alleged Roman was running “for the purpose of diverting votes Ö solely as a means of manipulating the election process.î
Suspicions are that someone (Repub≠licans) paid the fee which Roman recorded as a loan from herself. The other candidates similarly loaned themselves the money for the filing fees and did not record them as campaign contributions, which would have violated the law regarding reporting of campaign contributions. None of the candidates really mounted a campaign and the limited communication Greens had with some of these candidates revealed they knew little about the Green Party.
A hearing was held in January, and the Pasco County judge ruled in favor of the Green Party on the conspiracy charge. The consequences of the ruling are that the party can subpoena the financial records of Roman and question her, under oath, about the matter.
If the case against Roman is successful, it is expected that the other four candidates will be targeted.
In discussing the case, Jayne King says, “We’re trying to get the facts together to find out who was behind this ñ if there was anybody behind it, or if it was just plain coincidence.î