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Orlando elections: District 3 candidates trade accusations as race heats up

October 18,2017 00:18

The gloves have come off in the race between Commissioner Robert Stuart and attorney Asima Azam to represent District 3 on the Orlando City Council, which now features dueling complaints to the state's elections commission. On Tuesday, Stuart's ...


The gloves have come off in the race between Commissioner Robert Stuart and attorney Asima Azam to represent District 3 on the Orlando City Council, which now features dueling complaints to the state’s elections commission.
On Tuesday, Stuart’s campaign said his son had filed a complaint against Azam with the Florida Elections Commission, accusing her of failing to include a required disclaimer on dozens of yard signs.
The complaint included photos of 60 signs — including one outside Azam’s Baldwin Park home — lacking language indicating that they were political advertisements or who paid for them.
“If she cares about the law, she needs to remove all of these signs that are a blatant violation,” Stuart said in a statement.

Handout
District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart.
District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart. (Handout)

Azam said a vendor printed some signs with disclaimers, and others without, which “were distributed before the error was identified.” She said the vendor has agreed to help replace the bad signs.
Meanwhile, district resident David Rose earlier filed a complaint against Stuart, accusing him of misusing city resources, including by sponsoring College Park’s March 11 “Sunday in the Park” event and covering his booth with campaign signage.
A city spokeswoman confirmed Stuart paid the event’s $500 park-rental fee out of his office’s budget, as he has done in past years. Thomas Cook, College Park Neighborhood Association president, said Stuart sponsored the campaign booth separately.
Cook said the CPNA forgot to bill Stuart for the booth at the time, but after the discrepancy was discovered this month, he paid the $250 fee.

Handout
Asima Azam, an attorney, is a candidate for Orlando City Council District 3.
Asima Azam, an attorney, is a candidate for Orlando City Council District 3. (Handout)

However, Rose and Azam noted fliers for the event listed Stuart as the district’s commissioner, rather than his campaign, among its sponsors.
Stuart, meanwhile, accused Azam of “misleading voters” in remarks about Lake Orlando Golf Club during a forum in Rosemont. Azam called the defunct golf course a “dump” and touted her experience working to improve Rock Springs Ridge Golf Club in Apopka.
Stuart’s campaign said the Apopka course, which like Lake Orlando closed in 2014, is still dilapidated. Azam said she was highlighting relevant experience, not claiming to have fixed the club’s problems.
Azam also questioned the Stuart campaign’s sponsorship of the Princeton Elementary PTA’s “Fun Run” in September, which she said resulted in students being given T-shirts with “Vote Robert Stuart” logos.
“I think it’s clear to everybody … that you can’t use children to advertise on behalf of your campaign,” she said.
Stuart responded with an allegation of his own: Azam, he said, had “willfully broken campaign financing laws,” listing two $1,000 in-kind contributions from the same videographer on a financial disclosure. The state’s single-donor limit is $1,000.
Azam said the videographer and his company should each have been credited with one donation. The form is being amended, she said.
District 3 includes College Park and other north Orlando neighborhoods.
Voters go to the polls Nov. 7.
jeweiner@orlandosentinel.com, 407-420-5171 or @JeffWeinerOS on Twitter
Tom Keen gets union endorsements in Orlando District 1 council race »

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Robert Stuart,Asima Azam,Orlando,City Council,elections

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