ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA. — Documents released Friday show arrested Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez, has been in trouble in the past over campaign finances. She was fined $2,000 for falsifying campaign finance records for her 2004 campaign. She gave three different versions to police investigators of how she collected one particular cash donation. (See article 27 August http://www.wftv.com/news/24788284/detail.html)
Fernandez, who was standing for Mayor of Orange County, was arrested on April 16, 2010 on charges of racketeering, grand theft, bribery and accepting illegal campaign contributions, in a sting operation involving an undercover agent posing as a developer. Her treasurer/campaign accountant was John Malcolm Carr CPA, known as John M Carr CPA, from 1 October 2009 up until her arrest in April.
Photo 1: http://www.carr.co.nz/images/jmc.jpg
Photo 2: http://www.bankler.com/AboutUs/JohnMCarr/tabid/130/Default.aspx
Photo 3: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmalcolmcarr
Court documents show Fernandez had no idea that video cameras were rolling when she took what she thought were campaign contributions from someone she thought was a local developer.
So, when investigators questioned her about taking a $1,000 cash donation from the man, which is over the legal limit, she denied ever taking the envelope. When investigators asked her where the $1,000 cash was, she denied knowing that there was $1,000 cash in the envelope, saying she gave all her donations to her campaign accountant. When they asked whether she had given that specific envelope to her campaign accountant, she said she had not; the $1,000 was never reported by John M Carr as a campaign contribution and has disappeared.
Fernandez’s treasurer filed an amended report for the first quarter of this year (from 01/01/2010 to 03/31/2010) on Tuesday 27 April at 2:35pm, just one hour before Fernandez was arrested. Mr John M Carr’s initial typed report for the first quarter was filed on 12 April, 2010. His hand-written amended report filed on 27 April showed Cash and Check contributions of $57,500 [amended from $59,120] and expenditure of $55,369.12 [amended from $54,853.92].
The total monetary contribution to date were likewise amended to $138,851 [originally $138,603.40] with amended total expenditure of $79,671.89 [amended from $79,840.27]. The signature of John M Carr appears next to that of Mildred Fernandez in both documents. Meticulous records of the quantum of each campaign contribution are recorded (see references below). As of 31 August 2010, her treasurer’s summary of campaign donations for the period 1 April to 16 July 2010 that was due on 23 July 2010, has not been filed.
Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar says he has the proof that Fernandez corruptly used her office to get illegal donations for her now-defunct Orange County mayoral campaign. Her arrest was highly publicized. She was marched, in handcuffs, past television cameras.
Reports Filed: Florida Department of State – Division of Elections – Campaign Treasurer’s Report Summary
Treasurer John M Carr. Candidate Mildred Fernandez
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Mildred Fernandez, a former IBM executive, was elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2004 and re-elected in 2008.