HomeLocalElections Commission Tosses Complaints Against Village Clerk

Elections Commission Tosses Complaints Against Village Clerk

State elections officials found no merit in two complaints filed against the Key Biscayne Village clerk over the way officials handled questions about running for office in last year’s contests for mayor and Village Council.

In both cases, Florida Elections Commission Executive Director Tim Vaccaro found the complaints to be “legally insufficient.” 

Because a Village employee was involved, taxpayers footed the cost of defense: $3,860, according to Village Attorney Chad Friedman. 

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One complaint, filed by Inbal Horovitz, alleged that Interim Village Clerk Peter Kulpa used his authority to interfere with the 2020 Mayoral election, asserting that information about qualifying for Mayor was not properly posted on the Village’s website and that Kulpa changed dates and that his actions hampered the ability of unnamed persons to run for Mayor.

But Vaccaro said that there is no legal requirement to post information on the website, that Horovitz failed to show any evidence that Kulpa managed the website, and that her allegations amounted to speculation, because the website indicated a different employee is web manager. Moreover, Vaccaro noted that Horvitz was able to pick up a binder of qualifying information four days before the end of qualifying. 

In the other complaint, filed by Gustavo Tellez, a similar allegation was made: that Kupla declined to email candidate forms to him and failed to provide the qualification deadline for the mayoral election, saying that Tellez could pick up forms in person. 

But Vaccaro wrote in February that “a review of the email exchange provided by Complainant indicates he inquired about information relating to candidacy for the ‘Village Council’ and did not specifically mention an interest in running for mayor.” 

Tellez was the plaintiff in a challenge to legality of a $100 million dollar resilience bond approved by voters last November. A judge dismissed his lawsuit earlier this year but on Thursday, he filed a notice of appeal. 

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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.

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