10 News Investigators: 1-800-ASK-GARY founder continues to flood small campaign with big bucks

10:23 PM, Aug 12, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA BAY, Florida - A day after the 10 News Investigators exposed the founder and namesake of 1-800-ASK-GARY pouring mammoth donations into a typically uncontested election, new campaign filings with the state reveal Gary Kompothecras amping up his support even more in the campaign's final weeks.

Kompothecras recently spent loads of money -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- supporting former state prosecutor  Peter Lombardo for state attorney in the 12th Judicial Circuit.  His donations came after the current administration, including Lombardo's opponent, Ed Brodsky, found no cause to prosecute a former Kompothecras employee for stealing trade secrets. 

Prior to Kompothecras' involvement, Lombardo was trailing Brodsky significantly in both support and campaign cash in the race to be the new top lawyer in Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties. One of the two Republicans will face Democrat John Torraco in November.

But while Brodsky raised $7,000, mostly from small donors in the final two-week reporting period leading up to the primary, Lombardo's numbers dwarfed the frontrunner's.  Raising more than $10,000 from Kompothecras-controlled companies alone, Lombardo reported $107,350 in contributions during the same period.

More than 20 Kompothecras-controlled companies made maximum donations of $500 to Lombardo's campaign on Aug. 1.

And Lombardo's report also included $86,500 in personal loans -- money he didn't have, according to an April financial disclosure he filed with the state. His home is also going into foreclosure, raising more questions about where the money was coming from.

Kompothecras's Captiva Resort, LLC also donated another $80,000 to the Florida First PAC on Aug. 2, which funded both Peter Lombardo support ads and Ed Brodsky attack ads. 

Both Lombardo's campaign and Florida First reported tens of thousands of dollars in new ad buys in recent weeks.

Neither Lombardo nor Kompothecras agreed to speak on the issue, but Kompothecras issued a statement through his lawyer:

"I contribute to many causes, Republican & Democratic.  I am a huge proponent of Autism research.  I support Peter Lombardo for State Attorney because he is the best candidate in the race.  Any donation I have made to the Lombardo campaign has been within the laws and limitations set forth by the State of Florida."

SEARCH: Florida campaign donations

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.

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