Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring ad calls out ‘Chief Fraud Officer’ Jimmy Patronis”

Florida’s gubernatorial race isn’t the only statewide contest in which sparks are already flying.

You can add to that list the battle between Jeremy Ring and Jimmy Patronis for Chief Financial Officer, which is getting particularly rougher after a digital ad from the Ring campaign dropped Thursday.

Titled “Redefining CFO,” the 30-second spot seeks to put a new spin on that acronym when it comes to incumbent Patronis’ time on the job.

“Jimmy Patronis misusing taxpayer resources: Florida’s Chief Fraud Officer,” the ad’s narrator begins.

“Patronis thought he could get away with breaking the law, using taxpayer resources for his own crass political purposes. That got him slapped with a formal ethics complaintPOLITICO even caught him red-handed lying about it after the fact. Jimmy Patronis, CFO: Chief Fraud Officer.”

The ad refers to reporting by POLITICO which showed Patronis crashed a state-owned vehicle while “heading to a business whose address corresponds with that of his political consultant, Melissa Stone.” That’s despite his agency generally prohibiting the use of those vehicles for personal use.

POLITICO’s report says a response from the agency indicated Patronis’ use of the vehicle was permitted because he reimbursed the state. However, that reimbursement only came seven months after the crash, on the same day POLITICO reached out to the agency regarding the story.

That appears to be what Ring’s ad references when it says Patronis was “caught red-handed lying,” though Patronis himself did not seem to have lied about the accident.

Patronis was also fined $173 by Tallahassee police for his role in the accident.

The reports prompted Ring to file an ethics complaint, alleging Patronis used the state vehicle for “personal and political activities.”

Ring’s new spot isn’t the only point of contention between the two.

Earlier Thursday, Patronis’ campaign accused a Democratic opposition researcher of “posing as Patronis to obtain his personal information through a third-party state vendor in May.” The campaign cited a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

As of Thursday afternoon, Ring has not directly addressed the allegations.

Stone did reference the reports in response to Florida Politics reporting on the ad targeting Patronis.

“Jeremy Ring paid someone to impersonate CFO Patronis, and now he will do anything to try and cover up what he did,” Stone said before touching on a previous line of attack against the Democrat — one which Ring firmly addressed in an Aug. 9 op-ed.

“He is a risky businessman, with many ‘business flops’ under his belt, and a reckless politician.”

View the original article here.