Mark Weller allegedly used the City of Longwood logo illegally in a campaign mailout, according to an ethics complaint filed with the state.
By Jacob Engels
Last week, the Central Florida Post published an overview of the city commission elections in Longwood. It’s a disaster all around, even big tobacco is dropping in tens of thousands to protect the incumbents.
Honestly, in these smaller elections our general rule of thumb is to stay out of it. However, when outside negative forces come into small towns and transform the election into the wild west, someone has to say something.
Look, Mark Weller might be a good guy, but he is not running a very professional or aspirational campaign. His biggest accomplishment, according to his own campaign materials is “meeting with the city manager.”
Usually an elected official can point to a park renovation, roadway improvement, or SOMETHING. I think the lack of accomplishments is what lead Weller to become the subject of an ethics investigation.
In campaign materials delivered to voters, he used the seal of the City of Longwood to legitimize his campaign. That is an abuse of power, according to Florida statutes, since he is using a work product of the city in order for personal gain.
Honestly, it’s not the the most unethical thing a candidate can do, but if someone can’t be trusted on the little things, it’s usually not a good indicator of how they will behave on big-picture stuff.
Nonetheless, it is worthy of an ethics investigation. A Longwood resident filed the complaint on October 2nd, which can be viewed below. Also included are the state laws on matters like these, and what Weller did is a clear violation.
Past the improper use of the city logo, he has harped on his opponent about gambling, while simultaneously benefiting from tens of thousands of dollars in dark money political attack ads funded by big tobacco.
Why hasn’t Mr. Weller denounced this outside interference in local elections? Probably because he does not mind the dirty campaigning to drag him over the finish line, from a major tobacco provider based out of North Carolina.
An out of town political consultant is leading those attacks, using a committee that is based in Stuart, Florida. The worst part about this? It’s that Weller, and a majority of Longwood residents have been big-time supporters of the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club.
So does he support the dog-track and gambling… or not?
He has even been accused by retired police officer Richard Drummond of nonsensically yelling at his wife and young daughter as they waved campaign signs to passing cars.
Mr. Weller has no notable accomplishments. He improperly uses the city logo to give voters the impression that the city is backing his campaign, or to somehow legitimize his campaign.
Then he allows out-of-town political operatives to evangelize on his behalf, attacking his opponent over a business that Weller has publicly supported in the past.
At best, he is a hypocrite and sloppy campaigner. At worst, he is in league with big tobacco and slithery political bottom feeders.
Longwood deserves better. Under Weller, the fire department is flooded consistently and the police department has a half a dozen empty positions.
While we likely won’t know the results of the ethics investigation before the November 7th election, the Central Florida Post is investigating several complaints filed with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation against Weller’s roofing business.
We will update you on that this weekend.
Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, and Fox News to name a few. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.