Complaint Filed against Alan Osborne
The Florida Elections Commission has received a complaint alleging the Samuel A. Osborne violated state statutes for failing to mark a political advertisement with a proper disclaimer. The Commission has given Osborn the choice of either accepting the charge and paying a small fine, or denying it and face a full investigation and paying a possible much larger fine.
In a letter dated September 21st, the Commission says the matter can be considered a minor violation if certain criteria are met. The conditions include the violation, this being the first time the person has violated the rule, Osborne agrees to correct the conduct if feasible and the person must be named and the complainant must not allege that the advertising was either deceptive or influenced the outcome of the election. The Commission says this case meets the criteria.
The letter says Osborne can choose to resolve the matter by neither admitting or denying the allegation, but paying a small fine within 20 days. If Osborne does not accept the offer, the Commission says the case will be investigated. The Commission will then hold a hearing. If Osborne is found at fault, there could be a $1,000 fine for the violation.
The letter ends with a warning that Osborne can not discuss the case, but can seek the advice of an attorney. The person who made the claim is not prohibited from discussing the matter. The letter indicates that Robert Nelson filed the complaint.
WZEP AM 1460 First News talked to Osborne, who did not want to comment due to not yet having received the letter and not wanting to violate any requirements. He did say he does not agree with acquisitions against him (based on a previous letter from the Commission) and says he will contest the matter. He says he plans to file paperwork to advance the case and to waive confidentiality.
Nelson was a recent candidate for Walton Commission seat 1. Before the August 14th election, Osborne handed out copies of a packet talking about candidates he opposed. Osborne gave a copy of this to WZEP. A second packet copy is reported to also make statements of candidates he approved of. Walton Commissioner Cecilia Jones was cited in the packet with numerous complaints or statements by Osborne or the author. Several candidates talked to WZEP and indicated they did not believe the statements were accurate. Though others said they felt they had the right to file a complaint, Nelson is the only candidate who indicated he would pursue action. There has also been questions about the venues the packet was handed out at and the persons who participated in the distribution.