Exclusive! The mayor hates fags! Well, OK, not really. At least we don’t think so. Maybe.
Either way, Buddy Dyer’s relationship with the gay-rights movement – specifically, with Florida Red and Blue, the group fighting the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage – became the subject of a controversy this week. According to an e-mail blast Florida Red and Blue sent April 1, the mayor hemmed and hawed when they asked for his support.
The e-mail says that when campaign manager Derek Newton and board member Jennifer Foster met Buddy two weeks ago, the mayor told them he needed some “time to consider potential involvement” in their effort. A week later, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff delivered the same message.
The gay rights folks weren’t thrilled: “We consider this a no-brainer for him,” says Foster. “It’s frustrating that there would be any kind of lag. … We gave him a whole packet, followed up in e-mails and got the ‘Thanks, we’ll let you know if we have any more questions.’ And we both know what that means.”
Or do we? We got the following statement from City Hall April 4: “Clear and simple, Mayor Dyer is 100 percent opposed to Amendment 2. In fact, he recently met with organizers and shared his support.”
That’s not what Foster told us. Even a day earlier, she’d said, “We’ve been asked to give him a week.”
Buddy’s spokesgal Heather Allebaugh says the mayor’s requests for time were based on the level of involvement the group wanted: “The mayor needed more time to evaluate the necessary time commitment as he is currently also chairing several other committees.”
Again, not what Foster reports. She told us they made their intentions clear. “As Derek `Newton` told the mayor when we met with him, we’re not looking for him to grand marshal a gay pride parade, just be willing to add his name to our growing list of statewide opponents and say, if asked, that he’s voting ‘no.’”
Until April 3, Dyer seemed reluctant to do so. (We’ll assume that had nothing to do with rumors that he’ll seek higher office in 2010.) But then his tone changed. In addition to the statement he gave Happytown™, the mayor’s office called Florida Red and Blue that evening to tell them he was totally behind their campaign. (We’ll assume that had nothing to do with our inquiries.)
Florida Red and Blue is now in “forgive and forget” mode. “Let’s all respect the mayor’s office and be sure that if you do contact him about this issue,” Foster wrote in a follow-up
e-mail, “it’s to THANK him for his opposition to Amendment 2.” Thanks, then.
From the Told You So desk comes news that Buddy’s BFF Cameron Kuhn is broke, but he’s still promising to revive Church Street Station, and we totally
Ha ha, just kidding. On April 3, Kuhn told a bunch of hoity-toities that “there is a clarity in going broke.” Now he knows how we feel. He says he’s trying to pay off his debts, and by May 1 his company will be down to one employee, from 70 last year. Oh, and he’s walking away from the Plaza, the downtown megabuilding he (mostly) built using $22 million of your tax money, thank you very much. And that movie theater that’s always a couple of weeks from opening? Ain’t gonna happen, Kuhn says now. The company leasing the theater space won’t finish the project.
Not to be a nag, but yeah, we told you so.
For those of you not following the Jessica Asprilla story, here’s the gist: In April 2007, Orlando coppers reported that Asprilla got all spitty with them at the now (thankfully) defunct Club Paris, then “fell” down some stairs. The surveillance tape told a different tale. Officer Fernando Trinidad had pushed her down the stairs, then walked right by her on his way out of the club.
Trinidad charged her with battery on a cop and resisting arrest without violence. Those charges were dropped in March and now the 27-year-old is suing and demanding that Trinidad be fired. After an internal affairs investigation, the always-vigilant OPD stripped Trinidad of one vacation day, which seems like a totally reasonable punishment to us for pushing a woman down the stairs and then lying about it.
Not surprisingly, CopWatch activist George Crossley is pissed. He seized on the release of the surveillance tape to call a press conference in front of OPD HQ April 3. Flanked by members of the National Latino Officers Association, Crossley rambled on about how cops abuse their authority and blamed police chief Val Demings for not sufficiently punishing Trinidad’s behavior. NLOA spokesman Jose Miranda said that police officers need to control themselves, even if people mouth off: “Our job as police officers is not to decide who’s right or wrong. It’s to uphold the law.”
Crossley, who was celebrating his 67th birthday, asked that anybody who sees anything bad-cop shady call him at 407-619-1520. He’ll learn the error of publicizing his cell number.
Unfortunately for University of Central Florida bigwigs, those pesky college kids always seem to be riding bigwig ass about something. This time it’s about the $60 million the school has illegally funneled to the UCF Athletic Association since 2003, according to a recently released audit. Naturally, that money was used for important stuff like uniforms and sports equipment so they can dazzle their competitors in their new stadium.
Because the athletic association is nongovernmental, it has no public oversight. UCF’s Students for Accountability and Responsibility aren’t happy. “Those transfers were made to an organization, which has no legal oversight of funds, at a time when academics needs money most,” says SAR organizer Elliott Kachnycz.
On April 3 the group marched to UCF president John Hitt’s office demanding that the athletic organization pay back a $7.4 million loan by 2009. The group also collected signatures for a letter to State Sen. James King asking that the university be held responsible for its lawbreaking.
Fat chance, kids. UCF has already promised to rein in its illegal expenditures, and that’s the best you’re gonna get.
Anyone remember Jeff Krull? He’s the Mascotte mayor who was arrested the day before the Nov. 6 election on child molestation charges. He lost.
On April 3, the state attorney’s office announced that it was dropping the charges against him, because the alleged victims’ and witnesses’ statements were all over the place. Sorry ’bout that.
But here’s the fun part: Turns out Krull is totally an ass man! The police investigation revealed his love of good ol’ fashioned butt-fetish porn. According to the Sentinel’s April 4 story, Krull frequented X-rated sites and had loads (geddit?) of naked photographs of women’s derrieres. He’s our kind of perv!
This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman, Billy Manes and Deanna Moreyhappytown@orlandoweekly.com