Shores money continues to pour into Moss, Sykes, Wells campaign accounts

During the most recent filing period, candidates Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells received 95 percent of the campaign contributions from outside Vero Beach.
During the most recent filing period, candidates Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells received 95 percent of their campaign contributions from outside Vero Beach.

MARK SCHUMANN

Based on campaign finance reports filed with the Vero Beach City Clerk’s office, City Council candidates Laura Moss, Lange Sykes and Norman Wells are continuing to receive nearly all of their campaign contributions from Indian River Shores residents, most being John’s Islanders.

As and example, according to a report filed by the Wells campaign, a contribution of $1,000 was made by Robert Gibb, owner of John’s Island Real Estate. Gibbs at one time was, and may still be a part owner of the island weekly, Vero Beach 32963. The newspaper’s publisher, Milton Benjamin, is also a Shores resident.

Moss, Sykes and Wells reported receiving a total of 12,950 in campaign contributions between Oct. 8 and Oct. 21. Ninety-five percent of the total came from Shores residents and from a Realtors political action committee based in Orlando. (Individual contributions made between 10/8 and 10/21 are listed below.)

Last month, Moss, Sykes and Wells were identified by Indian River Shores Mayor Brian Barefoot as members of what he described as “the Shores team.”  All three candidates have pledged to side with the Shores in its dispute with the City of Vero Beach over the price at which the City should sell its Shores electric customer to Florida Power & Light.  FPL has offered $30 million. A team of five utility experts has estimated it will take closer to $47 million to partition Vero Electric without the move leading to higher rates for the remaining customers.

The “Shores three” are also supported by a political action committee, “Flip the Switch,” which is funded exclusively by Shores residents and by FPL, which gave $55,000 to the PAC. In total, “Flip thew Switch,” has received nearly $100,000 in contributions, money it is using to place robo calls and to flood mail boxes with slick flyers claiming Moss, Sykes and Wells can be counted on to look out for the best interests of the people of Vero Beach.

Combined, Moss, Sykes and Wells have reported receiving nearly $50,000 in campaign contributions, with the vast majority coming Shores residents. In contrast, candidates Sharon Gorry, Randy Old and Tony Young together have reported a total of $56,695, with $32,000 of that raised by Old, and nearly all of the money given by Vero Beach residents.

To Laura Moss
John Kean 176 North Shore Point 500
Paul and Jan Becker Dove Plume Road 500
Barbara Stone 321 Palmetto Point 1000
Barry Sullivan 320 Island Creek Drive 150
Alan and Judith Zern 215 Sego Palm Road 250
Robert Smith 320 Coconut Palm Road 50
Donald and Joan Houpt 220 Live Oak Way 50
John Hull Dobbs Trust Memphis 1000
John Russert 250 Seak Oak Drive 250
Charles and Susan Thomas 81 Oyster Cut 200
Outside Money 3950
Total 4250
To Lange Sykes
John McCord 700 Manatee Cove 1000
Garrett Bewkes Jr. 51 Marker Way 1000
William Grealis 271 Sable Palm Lane 1000
Realtors Association Orlando 500
Outisde Money 3500
Total 3500
 To Norman Wells
Charles Thomas 81 Oyster Cut 200
Judith Bramson 777 Sea Oak Drive 1000
Robert Gibb 1 John’s Island Drive 1000
Realtors Association Orlando 500
John McCord 700 Manatee Cove 1000
Helen Higgs 45 Waxmyrtle Way 100
William Grealis 271 Sable Palm Lane 1000
Outside Money 4800
Total 5200

Editor’s note: The island weekly has yet to report on the unprecedented level of outside contributions being made to three Vero Beach City Council candidates. The paper also appears to have collaborated with civic activist, Charlie Wilson, in the filing of an elections complaint against the Indian River Neighborhood Association and against InsideVero. Certainly the paper had advance knowledge of Wilson’s complaint; and the paper’s publisher, Milton Benjamin, several months ago let it be known he would challenge InsideVero’s right to issue a print edition in advance of the election.

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