The William D. Rankin debacle will forever be memorialized in the annals of the
Florida Democratic Leadership’s‘Library of Continuing Ineptitude’
In an effort to buy time and avoid the imminent embarrassment of prematurely endorsing William D. Rankin, an obviously unqualified Democratic candidate for the Florida State CFO position, the Palm Beach County DEC Leadership made an unprecedented, and improper, move: They requested that imaconstitutionlist – (that’s me) – “suspend” my First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech to give them time to “get a new candidate” and “sort this out.”
It seems almost criminal (at least, morally so) that the Florida Democratic Party officials would intentionally mislead the caucus leaders, and the voting public, with their perceived endorsements of un-vetted candidates running for powerful state or local office positions, even if just in the primaries.
However, that’s exactly what they’ve done. And this week, I’ve learned, they have a history of doing it. In fact, they don’t have a choice.
There is no provision for vetting candidates in the bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party.
It’s even more jarring that these same officials feel they have power over a press member’s, or any citizen’s, Right to Freedom of Speech, but evidently their Party’s reputation is more valuable than my Constitutional Rights.
Top that off with the multiple requests from the Florida Democratic Party leadership this week to keep their failure to disclose material fraud, misstatements, and blatant lies made by their CFO candidate William Rankin to the voters, caucus leaders, and Democratic Party supporters at various meetings and fundraising events…. why, it’s a wonder that the Democratic Party in Palm Beach County has any voter base at all!
There’s a word for this type of behavior: Corruption.
In an attempt to prevent these misdeeds from being disclosed to the public and syndicated media, leaders of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party have requested not only that I should not take notes or write about the William Rankin story, but have also pointed the finger at local attorneys Marc Reiner, a registered Democrat, and Jacqueline Delgado, who is a West Palm Bach Democratic Club Board Member, citing conspiracy theories and “smear campaigns.”
Early on, both attorneys had raised serious questions over Rankin’s (and the Democratic Party’s) dubious behaviors to the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chairwoman without acknowledgment from her. Frustrated with the lack of care in which obvious Party endorsements and fundraising efforts have been sanctioned by the Florida Democratic Party without proper investigations of William Rankin’s background, Ms. Delgado handed in her resignation this week citing the failure of the Party to put the people above their personal interests, disappointment in the lack of oversight, and refusal of the Party to support an internal inquiry into William Rankin’s exaggerated claims.
Ironically, the list of players gets more interesting.
In a last-minute meeting on Friday, Deandre Poole, PhD., Vice Chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Committee and Professor of Communications at FAU was present. Dr. Poole was vocally unhappy that I was taking notes during the “closed” meeting citing the lack of trust. He asked me to stop taking notes. Um, NO. I assured Poole that I was not sworn into their Party Committee (I am, after all, a Republican), he was there voluntarily, and I already have a long history of lack of trust for all political parties, not unlike many voters.
Dr. Poole, a nice man and very diplomatic, insisted that every voter in the state knows that the Democratic Party doesn’t actually vet their candidates before they request money from the constituents. They know this? Let me check.
Results: Dr. Poole’s assessment was completely wrong. After speaking with many highly-educated voters in my personal circle of all age ranges, not one of those voters thought that the Florida Democratic Party would ask them for money or time on behalf of an endorsed (that’s a debated term, by the way) candidate without vetting them first. Needless to say, my friends were not happy to learn this news that Dr. Poole insists they already knew. I guess we weren’t as smart as we thought.
This is getting rich.
In Friday’s Secret Squirrel meetings in West Palm Beach to clarify whether or not William Rankin, who had bloated his experience in the Ohio Department of Treasury, stated to the press and caucus leaders that he was a Director of the Florida Census when he was really an organizer in the field, had inferred that he was a policy-making official in the US Army CID (as we have now confirmed he was an E-6 “Staff Sergeant”), failed to disclose his shady Millionaire Lifestyle Publication and other suspicious business dealings, and embellished his background for the chance to run and fundraise (all money which he would be able to keep in his personal coffers) for the position of Florida State CFO, was still supported by the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Committee, Dr. Poole refused to confirm or deny. Dr. Poole said, “We embrace all candidates.” Good to know.
Another player, the Palm Beach County Democratic Party Chairwoman, Terrie Rizzo, sent an agent of sorts to request that we stop investigating and writing about William David Rankin. Wait. I don’t understand. The Florida Democratic Party wants the media to stop reporting on the Democratic Party’s endorsement of an unqualified candidate and their party’s total lack of a vetting process before they publicly show support and advertise for a Democrat that’s running for office so they can now vet him? Hasn’t he already accepted campaign funds?
The Chairwoman herself never showed up once this past week in any meeting to clarify the Party’s position, since she was incredibly busy teaching yoga, but she sent a non-committal message to attorney Marc Reiner via text when he asked if her party and committee supported William Rankin. Rizzo’s reply was, “…a non-response is not necessarily an affirmation or denial….” What?!
In Rizzo’s place came former New York Superior Court Justice Hon. Ira J. Raab, now the Parliamentarian for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. The first discussion was via a late-night phone call on Wednesday from Hon. Raab to attorney Marc Reiner. Raab disclosed that there were several simultaneous meetings on Wednesday, November 20th, in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Tallahassee, all involving the concern for the questions brought up in the imaconstitutionalist articles on William Rankin, candidate for CFO, which were also reported on TamaracTalk.com, CoralSpringsTalk.com, www.myactsofsedition.com, and the Sunshine State News.
Hon. Raab stated that the Democratic Party officials were concerned after reading the articles and Reiner’s latest statements reported by TamaracTalk.com. Raab admitted that William Rankin was being questioned in his recent actions at a union meeting, his materially false representations at various fundraising meetings, and his check-writing from his personal account for campaign purposes. Raab further stated that DEC leaders in Tallahassee were scrambling to clarify the discrepancies in Rankin’s background and that Rankin’s qualifications for the CFO job were under question.
Hon. Raab, a long-time and active member of the Democratic Party with significant history of party support in both Florida and New York (and overall nice guy), further noted that William Rankin had verbally claimed that attorney Reiner was a “staunch” follower and “volunteer” of Rankin’s and that Rankin pretended to be clueless when the Committee leadership asked him if he’d ever discussed money or a retainer with Reiner.
Rankin’s statements to the leadership were blatant lies. But he’s all they’ve got and he knows it.
Though attorney Reiner had, in fact, initially assisted William Rankin in his endeavors in Orlando, it was only based on the request by and endorsements of Rankin that had been made by local Democratic Party officials, who had assured Reiner that William D. Rankin had been vetted and was the best candidate for the job.
But the reality is, Rankin isn’t the best candidate – he is the only candidate for the Democrats as of today. Jeff Atwater must be rolling.
Reiner had serious questions about Rankin’s aptitude for the Florida CFO position after spending the weekend working alongside of him at the request of Democratic Party leadership in Palm Beach County and West Palm Beach. Upon his return to his office in West Palm, Marc Reiner, along with immigration attorney and the West Palm Beach Democratic Club’s Secretary, Jackie Delgado, attempted repeatedly to contact Terrie Rizzo, Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s Chairwoman to discuss the concerns on Rankin.
There was even a special meeting this month with William Rankin himself, called by several Democratic Club members, in an attempt to clear up the inconsistencies that had come to light through investigative reporter Chaz Stevens of MAOS and imaconstitutionalist. It was the Club’s attempt at heading the media nightmare off at the pass. Alas, Rankin not only refused to answer the club members’ direct questions about his background, but he claimed he was insulted and didn’t have to answer a darn thing about his qualifications. I know a few recruiters who would beg to differ with you, Mr. Rankin.
Terrie Rizzo never responded to those initial calls for review of Rankin weeks ago, nor did she reply to texts for clarification. She did, however publicly endorse William Rankin on behalf of the Democratic Party in several meetings and events, including pushing him out in front of the Palm Beach County Caucus leaders on Veteran’s Day, clapping enthusiastically every time Rankin said, “I’m a Democrat.” I guess that’s all it takes to be qualified for CFO of a multi-billion dollar organization.
But wait, I thought you already vetted William Rankin…?
The primary individual that had allegedly assured the Club and Committee leadership that William Rankin’s background had, in fact, been cleared through Tallahassee’s DEC office, was John Ramos, State Committeeman for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. He stated that there was no question as to Rankin’s qualifications and that Joshua Karp, the Communications Director of the Tallahassee DEC, was able to vouch for the vetting. However, during my conversation with the Communications Director of the Democratic Party Florida State Headquarters, Karp not only said that there was, in fact, NO vetting process, but he didn’t recognize John Ramos’s name at all. No one person in the Democratic Party could explain the questions in Rankin’s background.
Why then, Mr. Ramos, was the DEC leadership so surprised to see our findings? Why did they ask for us to forward our information? If they vetted him, with all their resources, wouldn’t they already have this stuff? Uh-oh. I smell another cover-up.
What they did do, however, was begin an attack on Marc Reiner, Jackie Delgado, and me, accusing all of us of being Republican operatives for Jeff Atwater and running a “smear campaign.”
“When someone tells you your car is on fire, you look out the window – you don’t get angry at the person that warned you that your car is on fire,” said Reiner. But killing the messenger seems to be the modus operandi of the Florida Democrats.
Though Rankin has denied requesting retainer amounts from Reiner to “memorialize” the possibility of the lawyer representing his campaign this week to the Democratic Party,that falsehood has been debunked. Actually, most of Rankin’s claims have been debunked. Rankin had purposely failed to mention the discussions of retainer and reimbursements for the Orlando event with the attorney, which were, in fact, memorialized in emails, which are now in the hands of the Hon. Raab at the request of the Florida Democratic Party. Lies, lies, lies….
Hon. Raab then delivered the message to us: the Democratic Party has requested from attorney Reiner that I cease writing for “one week,” and give the Democratic Party in Tallahassee time and the opportunity to clarify the questions that my media colleagues and I had brought to light.
The Parliamentarian inferred that there would be the announcement of a new candidate by the Florida Democratic Party on Thanksgiving.
I don’t necessarily see that happening. William Rankin insists to the public and community leaders that everything is “great” with his campaign for which he can’t raise money to pay the rent on his new place in Boca Raton, an alleged $4,000 a month rental house that he intends on using his campaign funds to finance. So much for Rankin’s “modest upbringings.”
The question herein still lies: “Why didn’t the Democratic Party leaders research any of this before they publicly endorsed an unknown, unqualified candidate who had just become a Democrat very recently, had zero voting history, has never owned a home, clearly doesn’t understand the job, and was a recent transplant to Florida?”
Blind trust in a candidate with a (D) behind their name and hand-clapping leadership who drool over a good-looking – yet highly unqualified – candidate is laughable.
Knowing what we know now: Democratic Party candidates should come with a “Buyer Beware” disclaimer attached to them.
In the face of the constant vetting of and finger-pointing at the now-incumbent Florida State CFO, Jeff Atwater (R) from across the aisle, Jeff is most likely thanking the Democratic Party. But the anger and retaliation by the leadership within the Democratic Party toward voters and their own board members and constituents that are demanding answers has been palpable. With individuals such as Harriet Lerman, member of the Florida state Democratic Executive Committee and host of “Voice of the People” whose own advertising touts her as “telling the truth behind the news,” one would think they’d be offering these movers and shakers dinner at the Ritz for saving them from another disaster.
Evidently, the Florida Democratic Party has succumbed to the “Loyalty to the Party instead of Loyalty to the People” machine. They want a Democratic butt in a seat, whether they’re qualified or not.
But ask these same members if they’d personally endorse Rankin, and the answer is a resounding NO.
Quite simply, their hands are tied, because, to quote Hon. Raab, “We cannot have a blank space on the ballot… it would be embarrassing.” So Rankin isn’t necessarily their personal choice. He’s their only choice and they have to support their Party, no matter the consequences? Yikes!
As for the Florida Democratic Party who has asked that a writer stop revealing truth, I can only say this: Democrats, before you request that I stop vetting your candidates, perhaps you should start.