Politics

Rick Scott Awkwardly Ignores Heckler at Tea Party Rally

Other tea party groups say Everett Wilkinson, the heckler, is out of control
By: Kenric Ward & Lane Wright | Posted: August 13, 2010 4:20 PM
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Raw, uncut video of Rick Scott speaking at Tea Party Rally while heckled by Everett Wilkinson

Rick Scott had a microphone and speakers, but Everett Wilkinson, a Bill McCollum plant, had a loud voice and a mission.

During a tea party rally Wednesday, Wilkinson, a tea party leader from a different group began heckling Rick Scott.

He and a friend held up signs that asked, "Where is the Deposition?" and "What about Solantic?"

From the moment Scott arrived, Wilkinson started speaking over him, interrupting him every 5 to 10 seconds. "Where's the deposition, Scott? ... What about the deposition? ... What about your bailout?"

For a movement that's struggled to gain credibility, Wilkinson had, to this point, garnered some respect among the state's leaders. But with his bizarre behavior Wednesday, some are beginning to wonder why he veered from the tea party's issue of controlling government spending and keeping taxes low, to becoming a political mole for the McCollum campaign.

Wilkinson said Friday, "I made a mistake. I got a little too emotionally involved. If I had to do it over again, I would not have stayed right there and been so vocal."

While stating that tea parties do not endorse political candidates, Wilkinson said his support of McCollum -- with whom he appeared in Tallahassee when the attorney general filed his campaign papers earlier this year -- was personal.

Wilkinson's antics and tactics have raised concern among other tea party activists.

"He's under a lot of fire right now by other tea party members, as the event that he disrupted was being put on by another tea party member, Marianne Moran. Many are calling on him to resign from the movement. I'd be very surprised if he does, though," said Tom Tillison, a leader of the Orlando Tea Party.

"Any line that existed between the tea party movement and the Republican Party of Florida is becoming more and more blurred by the minute," Tillison added.

Robin Stublen, who served as a tea party coordinator with Wilkinson before resigning, called Wilkinson's performance "disgraceful."

Stublen said from his home in Punta Gorda, "People are outraged. They've asked for him to resign and to publicly come out and say who's funding him.

"The Republican Party can corrupt this movement, and it's every member's responsibility to call it out when they see it," Stublen said.

Frederic O'Neal, chairman of the Florida TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, said, "Everett is totally out of control. In our situation, for example, Everett violates Section 103.081 almost daily by sending out release after release in which he calls himself the 'chairman of the Florida Tea Party' in direct violation of the statute.

Wilkinson has sued O'Neal's TEA Party, alleging illegal appropriation of the tea name.

O'Neal added, "The only explanation for his behavior that I can think of is that Everett thinks he has a permanent 'get out of jail free' card for whatever he does because he's working for the attorney general."

 

Kenric Ward can be reached at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or 722-801-5341. Lane Wright can be reached at lane@sunshinestatenews.com or 561-247-1063.

 


Comments (6)

Antitorrie
10:04AM AUG 25TH 2010
This only proves what far to many people have been saying about the Palm Beach County Tea Party all along. It is nothing more then a front for the republican party and Mr. Wilkinson's Ego. He has not only completely discredited the Tea Party in PBC, but he has destroyed his own reputation and that of a true Grass Roots movement. ... I am no longer a member of THIS Tea Party!
Brian Lupiani
11:37AM AUG 17TH 2010
When Losers Attack! ...and When Another Loser Ignores The Attack!
On point
6:14PM AUG 14TH 2010
I used to admire Everett Wilkenson because he stood up on issues I cared about. Now I view him as just another political operative with a big mouth.
BM
2:17PM AUG 14TH 2010
Did you notice how he bumped and shove the woman in front of him? He should have had assault charges filed against his fat ass.
cathy
8:55PM AUG 13TH 2010
Everett Wilkinson is a mindless Jackass who should have been forced to leave!
Jimmy
10:50AM AUG 14TH 2010
EW is only there for the media exposure.

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