Florida GOP Rep Threatened To Defund Special Olympics Because He Wasn't Invited To A Party
Florida Rep. Randy Fine, most recently in the news for sponsoring the "Fuck Disney" bill to strip the company of its special Reedy Creek Improvement District tax status as punishment for speaking out against the government, threatened defund the Special Olympics.
Surprisingly, it's not for some weird right-libertarian/Ayn Rand-y reason where he opposes taxation and altruism altogether, but rather for a more personal one: West Melbourne Police Department did not invite him to a Special Olympics fundraiser they were holding, in which local public figures would be fake-jailed and community members would have to donate a certain amount to bail them out.
On top of that, they did invite Jennifer Jenkins, a Brevard County School Board member who accused Rep. Fine of cyberstalking her after he posted her personal number online and invited people to call her to yell about her support of mask mandates and repeatedly posted horrific things about her on social media.
"Randy posts lies on social media, daily, sometimes multiple times a day, calling me 'mentally ill,' 'child abuser,' 'prostitute,'" Jenkins wrote in the complaint she filed while trying (and sadly failing) to get a restraining order against Fine. "I am terrified this narrative of 'child abuser' will incite violence, more threats and harassments against me and my family." (As well she should be).
In text messages obtained on Friday through a public records request from Florida Today, Rep. Fine and West Melbourne City Councilman John Dittmore discussed the fundraiser, with Dittmore explaining that they had invited the whole school board to attend and participate, but that Jenkins was the only one who RSVP'd yes. Fine still considered this a personal slight and told Dittmore that this could result in both the $1 million funding the West Melbourne had gotten in the state budget for the Special Olympics and $460,000 flood risk reduction project at risk for being vetoed.
"Jenkins just put your project and special Olympics funding on the veto list," Fine wrote in the text messages, because it is now par for the course in Republican Florida politics to threaten and punish organizations for offending the government.
Dittmore promised Rep. Fine that he would offer to "personally donate" the money Jenkins might bring in, in exchange for her being removed from the event.
"The crazies are going at it right now." Dittmore wrote "I’m just going to handle on my end and then if she doesn’t voluntarily step away I will bring up Tuesday at our council meeting."
Dittmore, a former police officer, assured Fine that the cops who invited Jenkins just wanted to invite the school board and were not aware of Fine's personal issues with her. He then invited Fine to come with him to the event anyway, but Fine responded "I'm not going to jack shit where that whore is at."
"You guys will need to raise a lot of money given that's who you want to honor, not the person who got you money in the budget," Fine added.
When questioned about the text messages, Dittmore explained that he was just trying to protect funding for the flood risk reduction project. Fine said that he absolutely never threatened the project's funding or the Special Olympics funding, claiming that threatening to veto the projects did not mean he was threatening to veto the projects.
Via Florida Today:
Fine denied Saturday that conversation ever took place and said he never threatened to ask DeSantis to veto the items. He said the "veto list" comment was a remark about the "negative attention" brought to the event by Jenkins, who attempted to "politicize" it when she posted about the event on social media.
"When you have someone like Jennifer Jenkins come and politicize charity events, it creates problems," Fine told FLORIDA TODAY. "If you want to be in a charity event, fine. But when you go on Facebook and you politicize it, you put it at risk."
Fine did not answer further questions pressing him on the nature of the "risk" he referenced.
And what did Jenkins do to "politicize" it? She posted on Facebook about the event with the hashtag #BailJenkins, a takeoff on the fact that Rep. Fine is fond of ending the social media posts with #JailJenkins. You know, the ones where he regularly calls her a prostitute and child abuser and baselessly accuses her of cheating on her husband ... all because she supported mask mandates.
Jenkins herself, when reached for comment, was not surprised that he had called her a "whore" or threatened the city for not inviting him to a party. "I'm no stranger to these attacks from him," she said. "He has constantly gotten a pass for his defamation and libel, and he's just been emboldened by those who are supposed to be holding him accountable."
Rep. Fine remains convinced that he is the good guy here.
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