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Ritter Campaign: Receipts Tell More of Story

​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.   

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:

​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.



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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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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