February 5, 2020

Jim Mooney

Jim Mooney

ISLAMORADA — A Miami-based lawyer has filed a campaign finance complaint against Islamorada Village Council member Jim Mooney, now a candidate for the District 120 seat in the Florida House of Representatives.

The complaint, lodged Jan. 30 with the Florida Division of Elections by attorney William S. Pollak, contends Mooney received more than the allowed individual maximum of $1,000 in a state legislative campaign from two Upper Keys residents.

Mooney said Monday the donations are legal since the contributors represented themselves and their businesses separately.

“They can dig all they want,” Mooney said. “I’m clean.”

Reached by phone, Pollak said, “I really decline to comment at this point.”

The complaint was emailed to the Florida Keys Free Press by “Mooneyfacts.com,” which made other vague allegations against Mooney. One issue cited by the anonymous sender refers to “Mooney’s role in development of Founders Park.”

“I would love to know how I was supposed to make money off Founders Park,” Mooney said. “I don’t do anything without running it by [village attorney] Roget Bryan.”

The complaint filed by Pollak alleges Russell A. Post of Ocean Reef gave Mooney two separate $500 contributions and an additional $1,000 contribution.

Mooney said paperwork submitted has been “rectified and clarified” by the state Division of Elections to show the funds came from Post individually and through Post’s real estate company.

Similarly, Bruce McClenithan of Tavernier made separate $1,000 donations in his name and in the name of the McClenitans’ nursery business.

Mooney has raised $58,300 for his campaign for the Florida House District 120 seat. Current Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, will step down under term limits in November.

Rhonda Rebman Lopez of Ocean Reef has raised $162,075 as of her most recent finance report.

Alexandria Suarez, a lawyer in Homestead, has raised $38,060. All three current candidates for District 120 are running as Republicans.

In December, some of Mooney’s campaign contributors received fake letters in the mail purporting to be from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and claiming they were under investigation for their donations to his campaign.

Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward opened an investigation into the matter. His investigators reached out to the local U.S. Postal Service representative and the Post Master General and to FDLE in Miami and Tallahassee. No charges have been filed to date.

Suarez issued a statement condemning the fake letter as “dirty tricks” and urging FDLE and Ward to bring those responsible to justice.

kwadlow@keysnews.com