Rick Nolte unplugged: DeSantis' guy on the Polk School Board drops insane quotes about his self-certified campaign crimes
The Polk School Board-member-elect faults "my campaign person accountant", "my committees," and "my son" for the election crimes he himself certified. Will he blame DeSantis next? LOL.
Polk County School Board member-elect Rick Nolte is facing two separate state elections complaints (which I filed) pointing out that he has reported and officially certified:
10 misdemeanor cash contributions, which he has acknowledged in a letter to the Polk Supervisor of Elections.
A felony $5,200 cash personal contribution/loan to his campaign.
A $2700 purchase of campaign “shirts” from a Missouri vendor that doesn’t sell shirts. Filing a false record is misdemeanor, too, if that campaign money did not buy shirts.
Other than his brief letter acknowledging the 10 misdemeanors, Nolte long refused to address his campaign finance buffoonery — including the self-reported felony or the $2700 in “shirts” with a Missouri-based vendor that doesn’t sell shirts. He had stonewalled the media and offered no public statement on his shenanigans for four weeks — until Friday of last week.
That’s when Lakeland Now reporter Kim Moore cornered Nolte at his golf shop, while I was on vacation.
Hilarity ensued, starting here. Note the parts in bold:
LkldNow met with Nolte at his golf club repair and manufacturing shop — located in a storage facility on Creative Drive in South Lakeland — where he was tending to customers buying golf clubs with cash. Nolte was reluctant to give an interview and would not allow a recording of the conversation. He did consent to a photograph while he worked.
When asked about the $5,200 cash donation, Nolte declined to answer.
“I’m not going to answer this because I was told not to,” Nolte said, although he would not say who advised him. “Since it’s being looked at right now I can’t really talk.”
He then proceeded to talk nonetheless; and every defense lawyer in America sighed.
We’ll speculate about what “being looked at right now” might mean — in investigative terms — in my next article. But for today … go read Kim Moore’s article in its entirety. I truly can’t get to all the good stuff in it here; so I’m just going focus on Rick Nolte’s craziest answers.
Nolte’s best quotes from Kim Moore’s incredible article
These are so so so great.
1. “Yeah, it was a clerical error, I believe.”
This concerns the $5,200 cash loan/contribution. It is illegal to accept a cash contribution of more than $50. More than $5,000 is a felony. Here’s the full key passage from Moore’s article:
When asked if he meant to write “check” instead of “cash”, [Nolte] said, “Yeah it was a clerical error, I believe.”
It’s been almost a month since I first reported on this felony cash loan/contribution. Amending the “cash” to “check” could be done in moments if Nolte truly selected the wrong menu option in the online submission. Believe me, if some dude was publicly mocking me and filing official state complaints about me because I accidentally self-reported a felony, I’d have that accident corrected faster than Nolte can say “T.I.T.S.”
But Nolte isn’t even supposed to talk about it, he says. LOL. According to who? A lawyer? An investigator? Ron DeSantis? Christina Pushaw? Who?
And the “I believe” is just sooooooo funny.
You can “believe” whatever you want, Rick. The statutes and your own official reporting say you’ve committed a felony. But maybe if you believe hard enough, like Tinker Bell does, it’ll magically disappear.
2. “I don’t know – that’s my son. I don’t know anybody out of state that does that. One of my committees did that.”
In the same sentence, Nolte blames two different entities (including his son) for doing campaign business with Summit Printing of Kansas City, Missouri. On June 5, Nolte reported buying $2,718.67 worth of campaign shirts from Summit, which doesn’t sell shirts.
Overall, Nolte reports spending $5,258 on “shirts” with three different vendors, one of which doesn’t sell shirts and one of which (identified as “Ligon”) doesn’t exist. And all told, Nolte paid a total of $7,328.14 paid to Summit for vague one-word descriptors — “signs,” “shirts,” and “marketing” combined. Full rundown of all that from me here.
Here’s Moore’s passage from her chat with Nolte. Note the kicker in bold — in which Nolte blames a third different entity for the weird expenses.
Nolte also claimed he didn’t know about the Summit Printing expenses.
“I don’t know – that’s my son. I don’t know anybody out of state that does that. One of my committees did that,” Nolte said. He has said his son, Ren Nolte, worked for his campaign, along with Nolte’s daughter.
When LkldNow pointed out that his campaign also paid local companies like Dixie Signs and Ligon Marketing for similar services, Nolte said, “Then my campaign person accountant must’ve screwed up the name.”
Again, as a School Board candidate who ran two winning campaigns and one losing campaign, it’s impossible for me to emphasize enough that there is no chance — ever — that my campaign would spend thousands of dollars on vendors about whom I had no knowledge.
Yet, Nolte says he knows nothing about how $7,328.14 of his campaign money was spent. That’s insane — and that’s who Republican voters narrowly picked to do the business of your children in a $1 billion-plus organization, Polk County. LOL. Well done.
3. “When you’re non-political like I am – I’ve never run for political office in my life…” and … “I did not realize that the cash maximum contribution to my campaign was $50 cash per person. I thought it was $100.”
Dozens — if not hundreds — of first time Florida candidates manage to run for office every cycle without cheerfully certifying in writing they committed multiple campaign misdemeanors and a felony.
If you are too stupid, too lazy, or too crooked (and Nolte seems a combination of all three) to accomplish that baseline activity, then you should stay the hell out of public life. Full passage from Kim Moore here:
At his golf club shop, Nolte said he did not have his books in front of him, so he couldn’t speak about those checks. He claimed he didn’t know all of the complicated campaign finance laws.
“When you’re non-political like I am – I’ve never run for political office in my life,” he said.
Nolte also had an issue involving accepting 10 $100 cash donations from various supporters, twice the legal limit for cash contributions. Nolte wrote Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards a letter dated Aug. 26, saying he had refunded $50 to each of those contributors.
“I did not realize that the cash maximum contribution to my campaign was $50 cash per person. I thought it was $100,” Nolte wrote. “Please accept my apologies for this mistake and let me know if there is anything further I should do to correct my error.”
You are not a special little snowflake, Rick. Lori Edwards is not your dingbat nanny, elected to tickle your belly and handle your business for you.
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd and State Attorney Brian Haas should stop treating you with kid gloves, too. Jerry Hill wouldn’t have. Ask Christine Trakas Thornhill. (More on that in my next piece.)
On the one hand, the crimeptitude in those quotes is hilarious; on the other, it’s disgusting and gushing with entitlement and the worst possible example for any child in the Polk School District to emulate. Moreover, it’s just beneath contempt as basic citizenship and competence.
Seriously, the Polk County Supervisor of Elections gives every candidate a literal candidate handbook which warns you against these things if you lack the common sense or basic morality to avoid them yourself.
You get no special little caresses for moronic, lazy candidate behavior, Rick. Act like an adult — like (most) of the rest of us who run for office.
It’s on you and Dennis Elliott, Rick — not Ren. He didn’t sign or “certify” anything; y’all did.
When you run for local office in Florida, you submit regular campaign contribution and expenditure reporting forms. As you can see below, you, the candidate is required to sign each one — as is your treasurer. A candidate can act as his/her own deputy treasurer and sign both sides, as I often did.
But when you sign, as candidate or treasurer, you literally “certify that I have examined this report and it is true, correct, and complete.” Read the text.
Thus, DeSantis-endorsed Polk School Board Member-elect Rick Nolte signed every single one of his campaign finance reports — including those that openly report and “certify” clear misdemeanors and a felony.
He certified that he “examined this report and it is true, correct, and complete.” Even so, data entry mistakes happen. You can amend mistakes easily and quickly without any penalty. Rick Nolte has not done so — and can’t explain why.
Instead, he’s blamed his son Ren, his “campaign person accountant,” and his campaign committees for the crimes that are still under his signature on campaign finance reports — and have been for months, even before I reported on them.
Well, Nolte can blame whomever he wants. He can blame the libs. Blame fake news. Blame Cookie Monster. Blame Beloved.
None of his blame changes the simple fact that only Nolte and his treasurer Dennis Elliott signed their names — under penalty of prosecution — to all these crimes, which are still grooving in plain sight.
And I have to say to Dennis Elliott, whoever you are, “my campaign person accountant” sounds a lot like “treasurer” to me. Perhaps you hear that blame bus roaring toward you. Rick Nolte already threw his own son — an abusive online Facebook troll, by the way — under it.
If I were you, Dennis, I’d think real hard about throwing Rick under it before he pulls you under it with him and Ren.
I’m always available and easy to reach.