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Nancy Smith

A Closer Look at Who's Giving to Charlie Crist

November 18, 2013 - 6:00pm

Trial attorneys, most of whom never gave as much to political candidates in all of 2012 as they've given to Charlie Crist this month, make up the lion's share of donations in gubernatorial candidate Crist's election coffers between Nov. 4 and Nov. 17.

"John Morgan is getting the word out," retired Fort Lauderdale political consultant Francis Carroll told Sunshine State News, "and Charlie's got another fundraiser coming up in Tampa on the Sabbath. Most of the party will be there for that one."

But Carroll cautioned it's early to predict whether Republican-turned-partyless-turned-Democrat Crist can match the governor dollar for dollar: "He'll have to get more than just attorneys to dip into their pockets if he's going to be viable against Rick Scott."

Though Scott is not officially a candidate, the fundraising committee supporting his re-election, Let's Get to Work, has more than $20 million in the bank and has raised $3.4 million so far in November.

Here is a list and an added background description of Crist's donor list:

Barbara Stiefel

$100,000 contribution -- philanthropist -- alleged net worth $120 million
The Barbara A. Stiefel Foundation Inc., 700 Coral Way, No. 3, Coral Gables, Fla. 33134
Party: Unaffiliated

Retired -- pharmaceutical executive -- Stiefel Medicinal Soap Co. (sold 2009 for $3.6 billion)
No real political background
Recently an active fundraiser for Florida Democrats
$1,736,901 in political contributions in 2012

Rosalie Danbury

$150,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

Hawaiian - Kauai -- Venice retiree
500 Park Blvd. S, Apt. 9, Venice, Fla. 34285

$305,800 in political contributions in 2012.

William F. Merlin Jr.

$10,000 contribution
Party: Republican

Attorney, founder, president Merlin Law Group,777 S. Harbour Island Blvd., No. 950,Tampa, Fla. 33602

Super lawyer from 2007 current
$6,000 in political contributions in 2012.

The Yerrid Law Firm

$10,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

101 East Kennedy Blvd.,Bank of America Plaza, Suite 3910,Tampa, Fla. 33602 --C. Steven Yerrid

Top Ten Litigators in Florida by the National Law Journal
Super lawyer -- president, chairman of the board -- The Yerrid Foundation
$24,900 in political contributions in 2012.

Francoise Haasch-Jones

$4,000 contribution
Party: Republican

Tampa Bay Business Journals 2013 BusinessWoman of the Year Award for Legal Services
Owner, president and attorney -- Fran Haasch Law Group,1275 Nebraska Ave, Palm Harbor, Fla. 34683

Member of Elite Lawyers of America
sponsors about 20 charitable events a month Tampa Bay Business Journal
$29,250 in political contributions in 2012.

George Chandler

$1,000 contribution
1 Beach Drive SE, Unit 2512,St. Petersburg, Fla. 33701

William Andrew Haggard

$100,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

Senior partner, The Haggard Law Firm PA,330 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, Fla. 33134

Member of The Best Lawyers in America
$23,750 in political contributions in 2012.

David A. Rancourt

$50,000 contribution
Party: Republican

Managing partner, Land South Group, 4030S. Pipkin Road, Suite No.100,Lakeland, Fla. 33811

Chairman of the board of directors, The Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program
Jeb Bush-ite, former Bush insider and lobbyist Miami Herald
400 South Monroe St.,The Capitol, 1604B,Tallahassee, Fla. 32399
$12,000 in political contributions in 2012.

Grossman Roth PA

$250,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

925 S Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33432
Stuart Z. Grossman

Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates of Florida
Member of the Supreme Court of the United States
$16,250 in political contributions in 2012

Neil Roth
Party: Democrat

A leader in the Florida Justice Association
Active in the Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Oakland Investments Inc.

$25,000 contribution

John Uustall

$25,000 contribution
Party: Unaffiliated

Kelley / Uustal Justice For All Law Firm

Courthouse Law Plaza,700 Southeast 3rd Ave., 3rd Floor,Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33316

Board of Directors Florida Justice Association
Florida Super Lawyer (2009-2011).

Michael B. Cohen

$10,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

McLaughlin & Stern,CityPlace Office Tower,525 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite 1530,West Palm Beach, Fla.33401

Partner West Palm Beach
Florida Super Lawyer
Michael B. Cohen, PA,6400 N. Andrews Ave, Suite 505, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33309.

Michael W. Moskowitz

$5,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

Moskowitz Mandell Salim & Simowitz, PA
Founder, managing partner and head of its commercial litigation department
800 Corporate Drive, Suite 500, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33334

Timothy Ritvo

$2,000 contribution
Party: Republican

General Manager, Gulfstream Racing & Casino Park,901 S. Federal Hwy.,Hallandale Beach, Fla. 33009

Robert W. Kelley

$25,000 contribution

Kelley / Uustal Justice For All Law Firm
Courthouse Law Plaza,700 Southeast 3rd Ave., 3rd Floor,Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33316

Member American Association for Justice
Member and former board member - Florida Justice Association
Board of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Robert ONeil

$10,000 contribution

Moskowitz Mandell Salim & Simowitz, PA

$5,000 contribution

800 Corporate Drive, Ste 500, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33334

Craig J. Mandell

Party: Democrat

A principal of the firm and the head of the transactional department

William G. Salim Jr.

Party: Democrat

A principal of the firm, a member of the commercial litigation department

Scott E. Simowitz

Party: Democrat

A principal of the firm, and the head of the lender representation and foreclosure department

Las Olas Recovery LLC

$5,000 contribution

600 NE 4th Ave., No. 1-4, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33034

Service: Substance Abuse
Service Offered: Residential Programs

Bob Poe

$25,000 contribution
Party: Democrat

Former Florida Democratic Party chairman
Central Florida finance chair for President Barack Obamas 2012 re-election campaign
Former president, Emergency Communications Network
Nominated to serve on the board of directors of The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
Chairman, Charlie Crist for Florida.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423.

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