$500 fine is upheld for filing late report
By MICHAEL SANDLER, Times Staff Writer
LARGO -- The state has upheld a fine against a former Largo commissioner who violated Florida's campaign financing law by filing her expenditure report late, state officials said.
Mary Laurance, who lost her bid for reelection to the Largo City Commission in March, has yet to pay a $500 fine issued by the city of Largo, said City Clerk Diane Bruner.
Laurance did not return phone calls seeking comment, but an official at the Florida Election Commission said she has indicated she will appeal the fine.
Barbara Linthicum, executive director for the commission, said her request for a rehearing will be considered when the commission meets Aug. 15.
Laurance was fined for turning in the second of three treasurer's reports, a list of expenditures made in her bid for re-election, after the scheduled deadline. She contested the fine.
On May 20 the state commission issued an order supporting the city's charge.
"(Laurance's) claim of unusual circumstances ... does not justify (Laurance's) failure to timely file the report," wrote Susan MacManus, chairman of the Florida Elections Commission. She later informed Laurance that she was required to pay Bruner within 30 days of receiving the order.
Officials in Linthicum's office said that the due date was June 23 but that the commission allows a grace period of 10 days.
Bruner said Largo's city attorney has prepared a letter she intends to send to Laurance, asking Laurance to pay the fine while awaiting disposition of her appeal.
"We are asking her for the money now, and then I will send her a refund if they grant the rehearing and they dismiss the fine," Bruner said. "If she doesn't get the rehearing, or the fine is affirmed again, we will keep it."
-- Michael Sandler can be reached at 445-4174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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