• Mascotte mayor faces suit over accusations of helping a council candidate


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - City elections in Mascotte were settled 10 months ago, but the mayor is now in hot water with state election officials.

    Mayor Tony Rosado faces a lawsuit brought by the Florida Election Commission.

    WFTV's Berndt Peterson found out the suit has nothing to do with the mayor's campaign. It's about the campaign of a 19-year-old city council candidate the mayor is accused of helping.

    That candidate lost, but there are still some hard feelings at city hall.

    Mascotte City Councilman Stephen Elmore said the law is the law. "You have to follow the rules in a case like this," he said.

    Elmore and the Florida Election Commission have a beef with Rosado. Last fall, Elmore filed a complaint against Rosado while both were running for separate offices. The trouble started when Rosado put a page on his website featuring Elmore's opponent, 19-year-old Cody Carmichael.

    "He used campaign dollars that were designated for his campaign for somebody else's campaign," said Elmore.

    Rosado said when he learned it violated election law he immediately removed the page from his website.

    The mayor called it an honest mistake and insists he was not endorsing Carmichael.

    "I think this far after the election it's ridiculous," said Hollie Timmons, Carmichael's foster mother.

    Timmons said he now lives and works in Polk County.

    Carmichael got 44 percent of the vote to Elmore's 56 percent. But Timmons believes Elmore is still sore because his father-in-law, Felix Ramirez, was beaten by Rosado in the mayor's race.

    "It's time to let things go. One didn't get in. One person did. What difference does it make? It's done now. Get over it," said Timmons.

    But Elmore said this has nothing to do with family ties.

    "They didn't even know about it until later. And it was filed before the election even happened," he said.

    Rosado said the election commission offered to settle its suit for $500. Rosado said he offered $300, but they said no. So now this could end up in a courtroom.

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