Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk is accused of failing to report a donated fundraiser, not expensing a Chamber of Commerce advertisement and accepting a banquet room from a hotel manager for a third of the retail price, according to a Florida Elections Commission complaint filed Thursday by his opponent, Victor Ortino.
Rambosk's campaign called the allegations "unfounded" and noted that Ortino had a history of filing complaints against Rambosk that have not been upheld by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
"When a candidate has nothing positive to offer our community, they feel they must resort to desperate acts timed to discredit a much more qualified candidate with malicious misinformation," Rambosk said in a prepared statement Thursday.
The first grievance in Ortino's complaint stems from a June 5, Rambosk campaign kickoff at the Hilton Naples on U.S. 41 North. According to campaign finance records, hotel general manager Clark Hill donated the banquet room to the campaign for $500, which is the maximum donation allowed under Florida law.
In the complaint, Ortino said a member of his campaign also tried to book the room on a Tuesday during the same time period and was quoted $1,500 as the base price. Ortino also said he used the room for a campaign event in 2008 and paid over $2,600.
Several attempts to reach Hill at work Thursday were unsuccessful.
The complaint further alleges that Rambosk advertised with the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce on June 27 and was the recipient of a fundraiser at Shula's Steakhouse, also at the Hilton Naples, on June 22, but reported neither to election officials.
"Our top cop has, once again, broken the laws he is sworn to protect," Ortino said. "I am surprised Rambosk didn't do a better job of concealing these violations. He should have known we would meticulously scrutinize his campaign and reporting."
Rambosk's campaign manager, Cyndee Woolley, said the sheriff "would prefer not to speak directly to the allegations," but would provide proper documentation to election officials.
"Our community is offended by this political rhetoric and deceitful attempt to undermine the successes we all have in keeping Collier County a great place and a safe place," Rambosk said in a statement.
In 2008 and 2009, Ortino filed complaints against Rambosk claiming he campaigned on duty, used his official position to intimidate subordinates and failed to reimburse the Sheriff's Office for campaign expenses. The complaints were dismissed because there was not enough to charge a possible violation under the ethics code, a Florida Ethics Commission spokeswoman said at the time.