With barely two weeks to go before the election, Misty Servia has filed another complaint against Dave Miner in a hotly contested Manatee County School Board race.
Miner, a first-term board member, and Servia, a local planner challenging him for the seat, have both launched attack websites against each other. Servia has also filed a Florida Elections Commission complaint about the way she says Miner is hiding political donations from the public by misusing the in-kind contribution data.
There’s no set timeline for the when the Florida Elections Commission will respond to either complaint, but it will definitely happen after the Nov. 8 election is already over.
A week after submitting and releasing information from the first complaint to the media, Servia claims Miner is making false malicious complaints about her and using a public employee’s services during work hours for campaign purposes. The complaint focuses on an August email Miner sent to his fellow board members and district officials.
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The time stamp on the email, which was also obtained by the Bradenton Herald through a public records request, indicates Miner sent the email on a Monday afternoon.
Miner forwarded an email sent by Servia’s campaign, announcing a meet-and-greet with Servia, and sent a message to his fellow board members. In Servia’s campaign email, she quotes Terri Wonder, a one-time county commission candidate who lost to Carol Whitmore in 2014.
“Misty Servia represents reason, a thing that is sorely underrepresented on the current Manatee County School Board,” Wonder said in the endorsement.
In his email to the board, Miner mostly focuses on Wonder’s statement, and Servia using the statement to make the entire board look bad.
“I think it is OK for Misty to profess that she is the greatest and that I am a dunce but I am concerned with her dumping on the intelligence of the board as unnecessary for furthering her personal agenda and harmful to the board's efforts to rally the community in supporting our schools,” Miner wrote in the email.
In a statement released with the complaint, Servia said she wants to bring professionalism back to the District 3 school board seat.
“I'm proud to receive all of the support I have, whether it's from developers and other business people, from people like Terri who are concerned about development, or from others more concerned about other things,” Servia said in a statement. “It's Mr. Miner who is trying to create a wedge in our community over this. It needs to stop.”
Normally, elections complaints are private until the commission determines whether the complaint is considered “legally sufficient.” Even if the complaint is legally sufficient, that doesn’t mean the person named in the complaint has violated any statutes, but it moves the complaint forward in the process. If the complaint is found to be valid, the Florida Elections Commission only has power to impose fines for each violation.
In response to Servia’s latest complaint, Miner issued a statement Monday evening: “Misty Servia’s complaint and press release today again demonstrate Ms Servia’s political need to substitute personal attacks on me for frank discussion of issues important to our schools and community. . . . such as why should the public trust King Engineering land development planner Misty Servia to best represent them instead of land developers when over $50,000 (over three-quarters) of Ms Servia’s campaign donations have come from developers and those associated with their businesses.”