Following is a news release from the campaign of Freda Stevens, a Democrat who is running for the state House seat in District 91. Stevens ran against state Rep. Evan Jenne in District 100 in 2008 and claims that Jenne, through a surrogate, offered her promises of campaign cash if she vacated his district and ran in 91 instead. The surrogate: political operative Barry Harris, who largely does his business behind the scenes and has appeared on the campaign payrolls of many local Democratic politicians.
My disclaimer is that this just came across the transom and I haven't researched it yet and won't have time to do so until tomorrow. I can tell you that Jenne already denied it when I asked him about the allegation a few weeks ago. "She came to me after the fact, after she had filed for District 91," Jenne said of his contact with his former political rival. "She asked me to come to a fundraiser to bury the hatchet publicly, and I said, 'Fine, I'm not somebody who goes on revenge kicks.' That's the extent of my relationship. A fundraiser and we went to eat lunch after she told me she filed."
Here's the news release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rev. Josh Brown
Evan Jenne Investigated for Public Corruption
HALLANDALE BEACH -- A complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics, the Florida Elections Commission, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations against Rep. Evan Jenne, of Dania Beach. The complaints allege violations of Chapter 104 Election Rules, Chapter 112: Code of Ethics, attempted bribery, intimidation, and
Between the months of July 2009 to August 2009, Rep. Jenne allegedly engaged in public corruption through verbal and written communication that resulted in personal gain.
According to witnesses, Evan Jenne through Barry Harris attempted to bribe Freda Stevens by promising to raise money for her to run in a different race. According to Barry Harris, "The people backing Evan want him in leadership. They want him to run unopposed. Evan needs to concentrate on recruiting candidates for open seats. Ron is going to make him Minority Leader when he is done in 2012." Freda Stevens originally filed to run against Evan Jenne in 2010.
Reportedly, Evan Jenne was concerned about possible backlash from the Broward Delegation, due to a switch vote in the House Democratic Caucus Leadership Election. Both Rep. Perry Thurston and Rep. Ron Saunders ran for the coveted House Minority Leader post. Originally, Evan Jenne promised his vote to Rep. Thurston along with the majority of the Broward delegation. Then Jenne switched and voted for Ron Saunders following a promise that he would remain Minority Whip and possibly be the incoming Minority Leader in 2012.
Freda Stevens said, "I chose to run for State House District 91, because I am tired of watching Tallahassee cut funding for our schools, county employees are losing their jobs at an alarming rate, and small business owners cannot afford to provide healthcare. I think something needs to be done about it. Politically HD 91 is a perfect fit for me: I am both moderate and conservative on some issues."
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When asked about the allegations of public corruption against Rep. Jenne, Mrs. Stevens stated, "I guess I should not be surprised. I was warned by friends and family to stay away from Jenne and Harris. I suspected something was up when Harris approached me [at] a Broward DEC meeting. I had a conversation with Ron Saunders the week or so before because I was looking at House District 91. The whole thing was too much of a coincidence. In the back of my mind, I always knew something was fishy!"
Due to the nature of the allegations and the pending investigations, we are unable to discuss this matter further.
Rev. Josh Brown
Freda Stevens for Florida House District 91