Qualifying Paperwork Puts Applicants in the Spotlight

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Qualifying to run for municipal office generally requires government disclosures and forms, and Gulfport City Council is no exception.

The Gabber requested qualifying packets for each of the six candidates who qualified in December for the March election for Wards II and IV; the city clerk’s office provided them by email.

There are four candidates for the Ward II seat: incumbent Christine Brown, Christopher Butler-Jones, Greg Simek and Jonathan Micocci.

The two candidates for the Ward IV seat are incumbents Michael Fridovich and Ian O’Hara.

To run for a seat on the council, each candidate must live in that neighborhood. The city charter also requires each candidate to submit at least 10 signatures from registered voters in the city to support their qualification efforts. In the information received by the Gabber, only Brown and Fridovich’s packets listed the individual signatories by name and address. Brown listed herself among the names in her report.

Each candidate is also required to provide primary and secondary sources of income, as well as real or intangible property owned. This led to a wide range of responses among the six candidates.

Brown is a teacher at Boca Ciega High School as well as a current member of the Gulfport City Council, and those are her two main sources of income. She offered no secondary income sources or real estate and listed a tax-deferred annuity as intangible property. She claimed two creditors and no business interest.

Butler-Jones listed Comfort Cafe in Gulfport as its primary source of income and no other financial information. His campaign treasurer is listed specifically as “Kristopher Butler-Jones” in more than one place on the campaign forms.

Simek’s main sources of income are a company called Body LLC and his Veterans Administration benefits, according to his documents. A pair of LLC’s are listed under the real estate category.

Micocci reported commission income through Suncoast Group Realtors, fiduciary distribution from Boston Financial Management, Social Security benefits and rental income through AirBnB. An entity called Grand Media is listed in the secondary revenue category.

Ian O’Hara’s main source of income is from his position as meat clerk Winn Dixie, according to his documents, and there is no other financial information.

Fridovich listed VA and Social Security benefits as his primary sources of income, with no secondary or real estate-related income.

Only the two incumbents have submitted the required financial information regarding the most recent campaign contribution reporting period, as it was in November and prior to qualification. Brown cited a $308 loan she made to her own campaign, and Fridovich submitted a waiver showing no campaign activity for the November reporting period.

All qualifying information for the six applicants is a public record and can be viewed through the Site of the Gulfport City Clerk’s Office.

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