Ryan Lipner is no stranger to the pages of New Times. From his weird crusade to own a greeting-card store empire to his continual campaigns for political office to a lawsuit against his own parents for child support, trouble always seems to be following the dude. Now, after years of stunts, Lipner is facing criminal charges of grand theft and criminal solicitation.
A bipolar man with a history of mental illness and endless attention-grabbing antics, Lipner's latest move was a familiar one -- running for governor. Since January 2013, the 30-year-old has been running around the state, telling everyone who will listen that he's gunning for the top spot in Tallahassee. Now, technically speaking, he might be the first official governor candidate to be arrested on the campaign trail.
According to a police report dated September 2013, an unnamed victim told police that in June 2012, Lipner "represented himself as an attorney... and advised her he would handle her case." The victim says that over a period of time, she cut Lipner around $400 in checks only to find out he wasn't a practicing attorney.
When New Times talked to Lipner, he stated he found out about the police investigation late last year and turned himself in when he learned there was a warrant for his arrest a couple of weeks back. Lipner says he spent over a day and a half in jail, and now he's out on pretrial release. He denies the charges leveled against him. "I never told anybody I was a lawyer," he says. "It's her word against mine."
Ironically -- or maybe we should expect this? -- Lipner doesn't sound too nervous about his criminal charges. "I think it's all politically motivated to derail my candidacy for governor," he adds cavalierly.
Or maybe this is the ironic part: Lipner says he's currently working as a program manager and director for a Broward transitional-living facility, shuttling folks with similar ongoing legal issues to and from the courthouse for pretrial supervision. "They thought it would be great with my legal background and my mental health experience."
Right now there is no trial date scheduled for Lipner's case.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.