Antaramian to pay elections fine for '08 support of Obama, Democratic committee

Jack Antaramian of Antaramian Development group.  Darron R. Silva/Staff

Photo by Darron R. Silva

Jack Antaramian of Antaramian Development group. Darron R. Silva/Staff

— Naples developer Jack Antaramian has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission for giving too much to President Barack Obama's election campaign in 2008 and making other prohibited and excessive contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

The fine stems from a complaint made by two of Antaramian's disgruntled business partners, Iraj Zand and Raymond Sehayek. They filed the complaint on March 22, 2011, alleging multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Antaramian said he didn't realize he'd done anything wrong until the complaint was filed. He said he unknowingly exceeded his allowable political contributions in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He described the complaint as having "no substance at all" and questions the motivations of his former business partners.

"It had nothing to do with the donations or anything," he said of the complaint. "It was just a form of harassment."

He's in other legal battles with Zand and Sehayek. In one of several lawsuits filed in state court, the foreign investors allege Antaramian took advantage of them and that they lost millions after investing in his various projects, including the Naples Bay Resort near Tin City in downtown Naples.

Antaramian signed the settlement agreement with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

Antaramian and his company, Antaramian Development Corp. of Naples, violated federal law in these ways, according to the analysis:

■ Making an excessive in-kind contribution to the Democratic National Committee by hosting a political fundraiser at the Naples Bay Resort in October 2008. It was organized by the Obama Victory Fund, which benefited the Democratic National Committee.

■ Making a prohibited in-kind contribution by providing free office space and office-related services in Naples to the Democratic National Committee in 2009 and 2010.

■ Making an excessive in-kind contribution to the Democratic National Committee by paying moving and electrical expenses associated with the Naples office in 2009.

The commission dismissed some of the allegations in the complaint outright, saying there "was no reason to believe" them. That included an accusation that Antaramian used $1 million that Zand and Sehayek gave him for real estate investments to make political contributions, which would have been illegal.

"I have never made a political contribution on behalf of a foreign national, nor have I been directed to do so," Antaramian said in an affidavit.

In its analysis, the Federal Election Commission said: "It is highly speculative for the complainants to assert that investment funds they wired to Jack Antaramian from 2001 to 2004 (whether received by him or by a trust controlled by him) were used years later to make political contributions."

Stephen Thompson, a Naples attorney with Roetzel & Andress, represents Zand and Sehayek. Thompson said he hadn't yet seen the settlement agreement.

Thompson said his clients are "under a confidentiality obligation to the Federal Election Commission and cannot comment until a decision has been formally announced."

Antaramian's total fine was calculated at more than $20,000, but it was cut by more than 25 percent because the commission was able to resolve the complaint at an early stage, without further digging.

The settlement won't be made public by the Federal Election Commission for 30 days. Antaramian agreed Friday to share a copy of the settlement and the legal analysis behind it with the Daily News.

A Federal Election Commission spokeswoman said the agency couldn't discuss the settlement until it becomes public. When it becomes public, it will be available on the commission's website.

The complaint included allegations against other members of Antaramian's family, including his wife and his son, but they were cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a letter Antaramian's attorney received from the Federal Election Commission.

Antaramian's total fine was calculated at more than $20,000, but it was cut by more than 25 percent because the commission was able to resolve the complaint at an early stage, without further digging.

Antaramian said he spent hefty legal fees to defend himself against the complaint, but wouldn't disclose the amount.

His fine includes a statutory penalty of $7,500 for consenting to the violations, plus civil penalties that are based on the amount of his unlawful contributions. For example, his fine included a penalty of nearly $7,300, or 25 percent of the nearly $30,000 value of free office space his company provided at Pettit Square in downtown Naples to the Democratic National Committee. The committee operated there for more than seven months without paying rent, according to the legal analysis by the Federal Election Commission.

The commission noted that it's illegal for a corporation to make any contributions in connection with any election of any candidate for federal office.

The commission found that Antaramian paid for various expenses involving the setup and operation of the Democratic National Committee's office in Naples, including $487.50 in fees to move furniture and a copy machine to the office; $511.06 for new electrical outlets; $500 for the rental of a copy machine and $888.16 for electrical, Internet and phone bills. He had to pay a percentage of those expenses back as part of his fine.

In October 2008, Antaramian spent nearly $24,200 on the Democratic fund-raising event with then-Sen. Joe Biden at the Naples Bay Resort, which included the cost of catering and rental equipment.

At the time, he'd already contributed $22,700 to the Democratic National Committee, leaving him with only $5,800 to spend before reaching the limit of $28,500 for that year, according to the Federal Election Commission's legal analysis.

So he appeared to have exceeded his limit by about $18,500. Based on that he was fined nearly $4,700, or about 25 percent of the amount he went over by.

Antaramian said after he learned about going over his limit for contributions in 2008, he asked the Democratic National Committee to reimburse him for the presidential fundraiser at the resort. He received the reimbursement a little over a month ago, but that didn't wipe out the penalty.

A representative of the Democratic National Committee couldn't immediately be reached for comment on this story.

Antaramian said his former partners got their information on his contributions in part by asking for accounting records from an outside company that manages the Naples Bay Resort.

Antaramian said the rules for political contributions are confusing. He said he assumed the Democratic National Committee was keeping tabs on his giving and would alert him if there were any problems, but it didn't.

He didn't track it himself, he said.

"It's difficult to understand what's acceptable and what's not at the end of the day," Antaramian said. "I'm going to pay the fine and move on. What else is there to do?"

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 28

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to rolomokat:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Throat_Yogurt writes:

HE LOOKS LIKE A BADLY AGED MEL KIPER. NICE BENTLEY GTS THO JACK

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

"Antaramian's total fine was calculated at more than $20,000, but it was cut by more than 25 percent because the commission was able to resolve the complaint at an early stage, without further digging."

Pay now or, most likely, a lot more later approach to finances.

Ruger writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Klaus,

Stop wishing for the "olde times" like in the "Vaterland". You may just get what you wish for.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Klaus,

Try this one on for size. The fit is surely appropriate no matter what YOU say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9BoBZ...

And by the way over 50% of those you claim to be poorly educated voted for OBAMA in 2008.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Typical liberal democrat. Change the meaning of the subject to your own actions and then argue against it. You have no facts to prove anything YOU say.

Obama is dangerous to this country and shows many of the signs of a socialist. If you and your type do not see that you are doomed to repeat history and quite frankly my dear Klabautermann, we are not willing to make that same mistake once again.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

In reconsidering the above statement, you DO see that his actions are that of a socialist and that is why the folks that want free handouts in this country have and will vote for him. Sorry for you, that you fall into that catagory.

MITT ROMNEY BY A LANDSLIDE IN 2012!

Our_world_according_to_zookeeper (Inactive) writes:

Ocram,

Correct and well stated.

The makers will, handily, defeat the takers in this next election and the polls are showing just that.

Romney will be making up for all the misteps of Obama but will be man enough not to use the "blame the other guy" excuse that our president has persistantly done.

20_Days writes:

OCRAM, Klaus reminds me of a college professor I once had during the Viet Nam War.
He adored Jane Fonda and anyone else that would put down America. He never had experience in the productive work place, but because he read as many leftist publications as he could get his hands on he would use other's leftist writings in his class lectures.

That same professor was eventually arrested for sexually assaulting one of the under-grads and for selling pot of which he was, later, convicted and received a jail term for his actions.

Now we have the same headset with the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd doing the same things again and they think that the end result will be different.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Freely, (free) elected? What part do the Black Panthers fit into Freely elected? Who did they, threaten and turn away from the 2008 election polling places. It was not those takers who voted for Obama, was it now?

Typical of a Liberal Democrat, has nothing meaningful to say so the argument turns to nasty name calling and blaming others for their (the liberals) own actions.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

NEWS:

In a Democratic Primary in West Virginia a convicted felon, who was actually on the ballot, recieved more votes, throughout the state than Barack. Obama. Now Klaus, do you really think that this has ever happened before? Barack is going to lose and going to lose EUGE!

I think you should be getting ready to pack your bags so that you can move back to Germany where your life will be, once again, happy.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Wow, wrong key hit. HUGE!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

NEWS CORRECTION:

The felon recieved 41% of the ballot, Obama received 59%. The felon actually won in several counties of the state and received one delegate for the DNC. Not as HUGE as I previously thought. BUT, can you believe those Democrats...41% of them voting for a convicted felon.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

17 bets? How will they collect? There must be another social handout fund for gamblers. Did you forget that you will have to pay your rent in November?

Sorry though, I do not take candy from a baby, you can never know where it was earlier.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Typical Liberal Democrat. Can not come up with a reasonable response and as I have said several times in the past has to resort to name calling.

Calling someone on a blog a name shows what.... but tells anyone reading the blog a great deal about the name caller.

MITT ROMNEY IN 2012 BY A LANDSLIDE AND THEN SOME!

Our_world_according_to_zookeeper (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Our_world_according_to_zookeeper (Inactive) writes:

Klaus,

Did you really read what you posted? They were to MarcoDefender requesting an apology for what she said to others on these blogs.

Thank you for reinforcing my point.

You must really like V.P. Biden.......Open Mouth....Put in Foot.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Klaus,

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Do not feed the trolls" and "DNFTT"

The "trollface", first appearing in 2008, is often used to indicate trolling in contemporary internet culture.[1] Modern usage of the word itself dates from 1980s.
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4] The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."

While the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels subjective, with trolling describing intentionally provocative actions and harassment outside of an online context. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."

All of your previous blog names including, Klabautermann, MarianneHerzili, MarcoIslandWomen and now KlausS fit well into the definition above. One must remember that Klabautermann was REMOVED by this newspaper for such behavior.

Along with the typical liberal, democratic behavior of blaming others for the behaviors that they constantly do themselve, also, puts you into the catagory of
"Those Living in Glass Houses"

"ROMNEY BY A LANDSLIDE AND THEN SOME IN 2012"

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Klaus,

I can not insult Obama and Biden any more than they have already insulted themselves. The insult that I am concerned with is the one that they have caused America in the eyes of the rest of the World. Obama will be remembered as the biggest "do nothing president along with his side-kick Biden". Tell me that he killed Bin Laden once again, I wish to hear that one more time. All he did was to carry on what others prepared before him and claimed credit as though he did it all by his little own self. What a complete phoney, an embaressment to the honorable position of President, no more, no less. Did you bother reading Axelrod's letter of covering Obama's tail if the capture or killing of Bin Laden failed.
"It wasn't my fault, it was theirs" very well could have been his quote if that happened. Lucky we have a wonderful military, no credit to Obama.

Oh! and his new campaign slogan "Forward", let us do nothing for another 4 years, but dip into your children and grandchildren's pockets. Who for; the balance of the biggest TAKER generation this country has ever had. Yes, the 46% who voted for him. Take a look at your grandchildren and promise them that for their future!

And by the way insulting a TROLL is a great deal of fun. I am glad that I am insulting you! It makes all my efforts pay off.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Klaus,

Very entertaining especially your correction of my english! Even when you attempt to be intelligent, you just do not have what it takes.

It was not Bush Sr. nor Jr. who deserve the credit nor did they take credit in the way that Barack "I did this and I did that" Obama. A real honest to goodness narcissist, if there ever was one, since the 1930s and 1940s of course. It was the men and women in our military who performed as they did and performed with great honor. The only thing great about Obama was that America made a great error in electing him. The man did not want to salute the American Flag when he was campaigning for the 2008 election, but stood there holding his family jewels when others where saluting.

Just wondering Klaus are you part of the 46% takers or the 5% don't know any better group. Maybe a little bit of both.

Our_world_according_to_zookeeper (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Do Not Feed the Trolls"

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Getting back to the original title of this article. Antaramian may not be the only one paying a fine because of his support of Obama.

All America is paying a fine, because of Obama.

Mitt Romney is up by 7% in the most recent national polls. According to history in the vast majority of times when the incumbant is that far back this early, the incumbant "LOST BIG" in the upcoming election.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Donefortheday writes:

Really now, do readers have to put up with the above much longer? Neither of the two of you will be correct until late November 6th.

Donefortheday writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Democrats Rock!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features