Running shoes and marionettes

(Prologue) I wrote this in the middle of June; it is now the end of July. Since then things have happened, but little has changed. I feel compelled to publish this because the average person out there deserves to know and be enlightened about and what no one else is brave enough to say out loud. What no local paper can write because they lack the access, the history, and the interest to publish things that people really need to know. Our local paper publishes history Because This Matters makes history.

This blog started a few years ago writing about local issues. We’ve written about how Gertrude Walker wanted to build a Taj Mahal to herself, which after we went to press, quickly got nixed. We did an in-depth multi-article look into the land surrounding the Civic Center and how the County was supposed to put the land up for auction years ago. Soon after, the County announced the land was going up for auction.  We wrote about how the school board was dragging its feet in approving the expansion of a highly performing charter high school to include a middle school. Parents filled the school board chambers to overflowing and got it done. We predicted a black swan victory for Donald Trump when every other poll and publication predicted a Hillary landslide. Trump is Making America GREAT Again!

Is this a self-serving pat on the back?  Once is luck.  We consistently put good wood on the ball.

Why are we successful? We dig up the facts, scrape off the crud, connect the dots and follow the money.

Today we look at politics, money, questionable motives, and politicians bought and sold. It’s all happening here on the Treasure Coast, right under our noses. It’s shocking. I’m shocked, and I don’t get shocked too easily, so I know you’ll be shocked as well.

From here on out there will be facts, and there will be opinion. I will point out which is which when I feel it is important to discern between the two.

I suggest putting your seatbelts on. (end of the prologue)

Queen’s Gambit – it’s about sacrificing the pawns

 

What we know, facts.

Running for office at any level is hard. It takes a lot of commitment from the candidate and especially from the candidate’s spouse and family. I’ve worked with many candidates before, so I say this from front row seats. I would never suggest that a husband and wife run for two separate offices at the same time. In local elections, your spouse usually fills the role of your support staff, and unless you have extremely deep pockets and can hire your own 24/7 handler, it is not going to end well without that support. Has it been done before? Yes. Should it be attempted without those deep pockets? Probably not.

Anthony Bonna is running for St Lucie County Commission in a primary against three other Republicans. So, it came as a surprise when I found out some weeks ago that his wife, Sasha, filed papers to run for the State House in District 83 which puts her into a primary against Toby Overdorf for Gayle Harrell’s seat. Harrell termed out of her house seat and is now running for the State Senate seat put into play when Joe Negron decided not to complete his current term. Negron, who had the opportunity to serve for more years than term limits would normally have allowed due to redistricting, decided that doing an end-around against the wishes of the people was in no one’s best interest.

How and Why

One has to wonder how and why. How does one decide to run for office so late in the game? Anthony Bonna is supposed to be politically astute. Anthony is currently State Committeeman for the Republican Party in St Lucie County, has worked campaigns before, and until being selected to fill an empty commission seat was a digital media consultant for a firm that did a lot of work for candidates.

Saying that you missed the petition deadline; didn’t know the importance of being at the St Lucie and Martin County fairs; unaware of the logistics of ramping up a campaign overnight; doesn’t pass the sniff test here. Unless there is more, and let’s face it, if there weren’t more I’d probably not be writing this.

One could guess that Sasha feels that there is enough name recognition with Anthony being out in public with all those things going for him that I previously mentioned.

Except for one thing. Sasha Bonna isn’t running for office.  Sasha Dadan is. Sasha chose not to change her name after getting married in 2015.  Not unusual, many women today who have their own professional life choose to keep the name they are known by.  No two-for-one specials on the campaign signs I guess. However, these campaigns will be linked, are linked. How can they not be?

Why? Why has Sasha Bonna all of a sudden decided to run? Sasha was the lead attorney for Safe Space and by all accounts has had zero interest in politics before this, except for supporting her husband. No different than my wonderful wife who supports me in all my crazy political and non-political endeavors. Sasha’s zero interest in politics is not an opinion.  It is something she has told many people and fairly common knowledge. No, her prior zero interest is a fact. How does one go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds?

Once again, why?  Well, I asked. I sent an email to Anthony and Sasha asking them just that.  I got a reply from Anthony so quickly that I knew it was a pre-written canned response. It answered questions I had asked but also questions I had but didn’t ask. To be truthful, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Doing something like this was bound to make the poo hit spinning blades normally reserved for cooling a room, and you had better be prepared for the questions that were about to come.

To her credit, Sasha also responded with a canned response. Giving answers with little substance (opinion).

No Good Deed Goes Unpaid

Anthony Bonna was one of many who filed for the open county commission seat. I was told that Toby Overdorf sent letters to Governor Scott in support of Bonna. I had the opportunity to speak with Toby and asked him about it.

BTM: “Did you write letters on Anthony’s behalf?”

Overdorf: “Yes, yes I did.”

BTM: “And Anthony was aware that you did so?”

Overdorf: “Yes he was.”

BTM: “Wow, how do you feel about this whole situation?”

Overdorf: “I don’t know what to feel.”

BTM: “I guess no good deed goes unpunished.”

Overdorf: “Live and learn, live and learn.”

BTM: “Why do you think Sasha is running all of a sudden?”

Overdorf: “I don’t know why she’s running. I do know that she’s receiving some very poor counseling.”

Overdorf went on to say that he expects a negative campaign from his opponent. I would agree, mainly because they cannot campaign on the issues, because Sasha doesn’t know them (opinion).

[Note from the Editor:  After going to press, Mr. Overdorf notified BTM of an inaccuracy. Due to his position with the Martin County Republican Party he could not write letters on Bonna’s behalf, but said that he had indeed made a number of phone calls on Mr. Bonna’s behalf. After reviewing the notes taken at the time of the initial contact we realized our error.  We apologize to Mr. Overdorf for misquoting him, and to our readers for the inaccuracy. 8/1/18]

Bonna – Job Creator

Bonna can campaign that he is a job creator.  He created at least one that I know of. Well, not created a job, but created an opening. The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is looking for a Field Director for St Lucie County. (I believe the job had been filled now) The former holder of this position was a young single mother, Rebecca Issacs. Rebecca is a proud Republican and enjoyed her job. She also considered herself a friend of Anthony and Sasha.

When Rebecca found out that Sasha decided to jump into the primary at the last moment, she was just as shocked as everyone that knows Sasha. So, she decided to ask Anthony the question that everyone else had. Why? Text messages went back and forth. Text messages that I do not have and have never seen (fact).

At some point, Anthony decided that Rebecca was not going to support Sasha’s candidacy. Maybe he felt that an employee of the RPOF needed to be unbiased. Maybe Rebecca told Anthony that she could not see any good reason why someone with zero name recognition, and zero previous interest in politics, should enter a race and cause an unnecessary primary, causing a perfectly good candidate to have to spend money better saved for the general election (opinion).

Rebecca made the mistake of assuming she was conversing with Anthony Bonna the friend. She should have realized that she was speaking with Anthony Bonna the political opportunist. Bonna forwarded those texts to Rebecca’s boss, Rebecca got fired.

It’s a shame because Rebecca made inroads into communities within this county for the Republican Party that did not exist before. You see, we failed to mention that Rebecca is not only a single mom, but she’s also a black single mom, a proud Republican in the black community carrying the Republican brand into rooms where the Party never had real and full access before. (fact)

I guess Bonna felt we had a surplus of proud black single moms in the Republican Party that we can get rid of the ones that did not promote the Sasha Dadan candidacy (opinion).  Well played Mr. State Committeeman, well played (sarcasm).

A Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

Soon after the Sasha Dadan’s coming out party, I was at a meeting where candidates had two minutes to give their stump speech. In attendance was Overdorf, Bonna, and Bonna2.0 (Sasha Dadan).

Toby was first to go and mentioned what everyone knew that he now had a primary contender. Toby pledged, looking directly at Camp Bonna, that he was going to run a positive campaign without negativity. But if attacked he would have no choice but to attack back. He made that pledge and hoped that the other side would make the same pledge. Toby also provided a long list of political figures who recently gave their endorsement to him. Many on the list could also be described as Bonna supporters (possibly former Bonna supporters) and benefactors. (The poo had definitely hit the spinning blades.)

Anthony came up after a few other candidates and spoke looking past the primary as if he were already the winner of the primary. A strong move on his part.  He spoke about how the Democrat that is running in the race got 75% of his money from out of the area. How the Democratic candidate was being bought and paid for by outside interests. Another strong move and something that will be part of the eventual primary winner’s messaging. Nothing new here, not giving out any secrets, this is Campaign 101 stuff.

When Bonna said this, I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from laughing. You’ll see why in just a few seconds.

A few minutes later it was Sasha’s turn. She gave us a quick background of herself. One thing she did say was that fundraising was going very well, to which I chuckled. Then she said that she opened her firm this past May, and that made me sit up and take notice (you’ll do well to take notice too). Dadan Bonna Law, PLLC has existed since August of 2017 (fact). I guess she meant to say that she just opened up her own firm, leaving Safe Space as lead attorney (opinion).

Sasha did not meet Toby’s challenge of running a clean race. Sasha did not say that she too would pledge not to run negative ads (fact).

Connecting the Dots

Now to connect the dots. Now to give my opinion. Put on some bunker gear, from here on in it gets hot.

You see, Sasha could not in good faith make such a pledge. Sasha has no idea what kind of ads will be run. Sasha is not in control of her campaign, outside interests are.

The same type of interests that Anthony Bonna claims is a reason not to vote for the Democrat running for county commission.  Wondering if Anthony will take the same stance with Team Sasha. Can Anthony be right and wrong at the same time? No.

Who is in charge? Who called Sasha Dadan (Bonna) and said, “All you have to do is show up, it will not cost you a dime. We take care of the money; we take care of the ads. We did all the research. You’re female; you’re attractive, all you have to do is sign on the dotted line, name our guy as your campaign treasurer. show up to events, say lots of nothing, stay off the issues, and let us take care of the rest.”

Who made that call?  Not once, not only to Sasha but a few people.  Some said, “take a hike, I’m not for sale.” One other, who shall be named later, said, “Sounds good.”

I’m sure Anthony and Sasha took all of five minutes to say ‘yes’ tentatively. Someone wanting the county commission seat and running in what could be a very close Republican primary might say, “This could blow up in our faces. I could be risking the commission race and a $70,000 paycheck, against a huge longshot for a job that pays about $20,000.”  (let that money difference sink in)  “We need to think about this.” I don’t think Bonna sees it that way.  He’ll see Sasha being in Tallahassee as an entry into better cocktail parties with more influential people than he ever could get into being in St Lucie County.  The commission seat is just the bottom rung to Anthony. (opinion-and that’s fine. It’s okay to have a desire to be in politics and move up the ladder.)

Why tentatively ‘yes’?  Well, in Treasure Coast political circles it is said that Anthony holds it in until a certain someone tells him it is okay to ‘go.’ A decision like this must be run past this person. Unless this person was the dealmaker or puppet master in the first place. We might not ever get the answer to that.

Why was it important to remember that Sasha just opened up her own law firm?  Well, if I am working for the John Doe Company and you wanted to pay me a huge consulting fee. A fee many more times than my actual consulting was worth, you could do so, but I’d never see that money, the John Doe Company would get all that money.  I’d get my regular salary or cut.

If it were my own company, I could just hand you a blank invoice. You fill it in as you wrote me a check for whatever you wanted to write me a check for.  You value my consulting at what you wish to value my consulting.  I deposit the check into my business and thank you with a wink and a nod.

If that is not clear enough for you let me give you a real-life example.

Bill Clinton spoke for 40 minutes before executives of a Russian bank that had an investment interest in the Uranium One deal. A deal that needed the signature of Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary. Hillary Clinton just happened to be the Secretary of State at the time.

Bill Clinton’s normal speaking fee should have been around $50K, maybe a bit more. The Russian bankers gave Bill Clinton half a million dollars for a 40-minute speech. The Uranium One deal was signed, with a wink and a nod.

That’s why you need to open your own business.

I have nothing against people working for themselves. That truly is the American dream.

Once again, this is all my opinion and conjecture. Take it for what it’s worth. I have no proof that this has happened, no proof that it will. When you make yourself a public person by running for office, you had better grow some thick skin because people will and should question your motives and question the people you get into bed with.

Earlier we pointed to someone else that said, “Yes,” when the call came. That person would be Teri Pinney. How do we know she got a call? How do we know she was asked to run? How do we know it wasn’t her idea to run for office like Sasha Dadan would like us to believe in her case?  She told us. She told everyone.  Here is an excerpt of her answers that she put on TCPalm.

 

See the first line. “When I was asked to consider running.”  You can follow the link to the TCPalm and nowhere in what she wrote gives any indication as to who asked. Was it the family down the block? Was it people tied to big money PACs? Big Salt? Big Pepper? Big Attorneys? Was it the same people who asked Sasha to run? We are sure that you would find that very hard to believe, that the same people who pushed Sasha Bonna Dadan into the race could be the same people who asked (her words) Teri Pinney to run.

TCPalm questions and answers from Teri Pinney
TCPalm questions and answers from Teri Pinney

To be fair, we have included the entire answer to the question so that you can read what else Teri wrote about herself. No clipping, no parsing, no underhanded tricks of the fake news media.  I like Teri, I have known her for quite a few years. She is a warm and trusting person. My greatest fear is that she has trusted the wrong people this time.

We’re going to quote ourselves here, “name our guy as your campaign treasurer.”  That was from the call that might have happened and how it might have gone down. Once again, pure conjecture on our part, just a possibility in the world of possibilities.

In the business world when a venture capitalist makes a large investment in a company they put in their people to watch over things, mainly the operations and the books. Most importantly the books, they want to make sure that their investment is being used wisely.

Here are two screenshots from the Florida Secretary of State – Division of Elections website.

They are from the filing documents of both, Sasha Dadan and Teri Pinney. To speed things along we’ve circled what we think you should make a note of.

Campaign Treasurer filings of Sasha Dadan and Teri Pinney
Campaign Treasurer filings of Sasha Dadan and Teri Pinney

Just more dots, just more connecting, just more questions that I hope we can get answered.  Nothing private, here is the website to verify what I have posted here. http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/campaign-docs/

I am sure that it is just a coincidence. Absolutely sure of it.

This is not about Sasha nor Teri.  This goes deeper, this requires more than a superficial scratching of the surface. Who or what group is trying to buy our local elections, use good people as pawns for their own gain. That is what we believe is going on here. Neither of these candidates had any interest in running prior to that phone call that may or may not have happened.  I have no doubt that they are very serious in their candidacy, but there are questions everyone should be demanding answers to.

Why?

Because This Matters