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DeSantis-endorsed Polk School Board Member-elect Rick Nolte faces second formal election complaint
The FEC should make Nolte account for, at least, the $2718 he spent on "shirts" with a Missouri company that says it doesn't sell shirts. Nolte could explain today; but he's choosing silence.
Correction: in the email version of this article, I accidentally referred to Nolte’s misdemeanor cash “loans.” They are not loans; they are direct contributions from supporters — although loans are considered contributions under Florida Election law. I have fixed below.
Yesterday, I mailed a second formal complaint to the Florida Elections Commission about Rick Nolte’s campaign financing. What follows is the narrative I sent:
Knowingly filing a false campaign expenditure report violates Florida statute 106.07 and is a first degree misdemeanor.
On June 5, 2022, Polk County School Board Member-elect Rick Nolte reported spending $2,718.67 on “shirts” with Summit Printing in Kansas City, Missouri.
I called Summit Consulting on Friday, September 2. I identified myself and explained why I was calling -- to ask if the company sells shirts as Nolte claimed.
I spoke with a man who identified himself as part of a company answering service. He passed a message onto a company official. I received a return call from a company official, who left a voice mail saying the following:
“Hi this is David with Summit Printing. You called on tee-shirts. Yeah, we don’t print any shirts or embroidery or anything like that. Sorry. Again, this is David from Summit Printing.”
I still have the voicemail and can make it available to the commission as needed.
Just a few weeks later, on June 30, Nolte spent another $1,664.32 on “shirts” with something called “Legion Marketing” that appears not to exist. It might be a company called “Ligon Marketing,” which owns the PO Box for Legion. But I can’t be certain.
Overall, Nolte reports spending $5,258 on “shirts” with three different vendors, one of which doesn’t sell shirts and one of which doesn’t exist. Nolte should account for his spending on these items.
Moreover, the “shirt” spending with Summit potentially calls into question three other Summit expenditures for “marketing” and “signs” – on March 24, April 26, and August 18.
Screenshots of all shirts expenditures and all Summit expenditures are attached.
This complaint does not relate directly to my recent, previous complaint against Nolte for accepting illegal cash contributions at both the misdemeanor and felony level. However, I think the commission might benefit from an overall summary of what is currently known from the public record and media reports about the 2022 Polk County School Board campaign:
Candidates Terry Clark (Dist. 5) and Jill Sessions (District 7) openly hired a convicted criminal, church-cheating grifter named James Dunn to run their school board campaigns.
Terry Clark said in writing on July 8 that Nolte was using Dunn, too. (Email attached)
Illegal, criminal texts targeted Lisa Miller; and Clark said in writing that Sessions’ criminal campaign manager had sent “20 thousand plus” texts. These were reported to the Polk State Attorney’s office for investigation and prosecution back in late June and early July.
Rick Nolte has admitted to 10 campaign misdemeanors and is silent on the clear felony, about which I have filed a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. (Nolte admission attached.)
Rick Nolte reported paying $2,718.67 for shirts to a Missouri company that does not sell shirts. If that’s not some sort of “accident” with an innocent explanation, it’s a first degree misdemeanor.
Nolte’s spending with Summit and Legion through June 30 total $7,567.39 — almost precisely the same $7,500 fee Clark and Dunn paid in June to the criminal James Dunn.
As indicated on the cover sheet of this complaint, I have not shared this specific complaint with the Polk State Attorney’s Office. However, I have had separate communications with the SAO that include more granular detail about the 2022 Polk School Board election and potential irregularities.
FEC complaints remain confidential until various legal triggers kick in. But there are two exceptions to that confidentiality:
The person who writes and submits the complaint. That’s me.
The person who is the subject of the complaint. That’s Nolte.
Rick Nolte could, at any time, publicly address and explain the felony $5,200 *cash* loan he reported making to his campaign. He’s already acknowledged, in writing, the 10 misdemeanor cash contributions he illegally accepted.
Rick Nolte could, at any time, explain how his campaign spent $2718.16 on “shirts” with a Missouri company that says it doesn’t sell shirts.
That fact that he has not done any of that yet says quite a bit, I think. Keep in mind, Rick Nolte is Ron DeSantis’ guy on the Polk School Board.
If you’d like a full sordid timeline of the grossly sleazy, criminal, and criminal-adjacent Polk County School Board campaign, you can find it here.