TV commercial attack ads in Fort Myers
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Oct. 15, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct. 15, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Election season is heating up.
But one thing that's different, there are now television commercials in the Fort Myers mayoral race.
Candidate Raimond Aulen points a suspicious finger at Mayor Randy Henderson for a land deal which made him more than one million dollars.
Its only a 28 second commercial, but it does it's best to portray randy Henderson as someone making big money off a land deal with the county.
The commercial says "Why is the mayor always smiling? You would be too if you had this deal...
Henderson owned a property called Orchid Isles.
In 2003 he tried to sell it to lee county's 20/20 program for 4 million dollars. No Deal!
But in 2007... they paid 16.1 million dollars for it."
Time for a fact check: Documents from the Lee County Clerk of the Courts verify all of this to be true.
The report states "The property was previously nominated for public purchase in 2003.
The asking price was just over four million."
But the county didn't bite.
In 2007, the property was re-submitted to 20/20 again.
This time the county purchased it for 16.1 million dollars.
The commercial goes on to say "The elected city official who spoke at the meeting was part owner and owner of the real estate company that made the 1.6 million dollar commission on the sale."
Time for another fact check: in 2011, the clerk of the courts did an official audit on the 20/20 land purchasing program- much of which focused on Orchid Isles.
Again... it references Mayor Randy Henderson.
It states clearly that one of the sellers was an elected official in the City of Fort Myers....who also received a 10% brokers fee/commission of 1.6 million dollars.
So... is any of this a problem?
Fox 4 contacted the former Clerk of the Courts Charlie Green, who led the audit of the 20/20 program in 20-11.
He says "the report doesn't identify Randy Henderson as doing anything illegal... it only points out how the county spent too much money for specific pieces of property like orchid isles."
But Raimond Aulen says the commercial all points to questionable activities by the mayor.
Aulen points out "the fact the FBI is so concerned about it they have to come here and done an investigation and do records requests and look into the dealings of the officials... kind of sends up a really big red flag."
The FBI did interview the entire city council and the city manager except for the Mayor.
As to why that was the case , the Mayor only said in a July interview that "I simply don't know."
See the commercial HERE.