A prominent Orlando campaign consultant was arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and charged with stealing $20,000 from the campaign of Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
Eric Foglesong has worked on several high profile local campaigns, including Mina’s and Jeff Ashton’s who prosecuted Casey Anthony and later lost a state attorney race.
Foglesong is the co-founder of Citizens for Safety and Justice PAC which was formed to help Mina get elected as sheriff after a tenure as Orlando’s police chief. The political operative is accused of taking two blank checks meant to pay for mailers and making them out to his wife, then cashing them. His partner in that venture was pollster Jim Kitchens who was making a trip to Cuba and left Foglesong with two checks that were to be paid to a consulting firm which Citizens for Safety PAC owed money. Instead, Foglesong was caught on surveillance depositing those checks for $3,450, made out to his wife who has no relationship with his political business. When Kitchens returned from Cuba, Foglesong had disconnected his and his wife’s cell phone. A week later, he apologized to Kitchens, telling him he had to write the two checks to himself to reimburse himself for some expenses.
Another consulting company that Foglesong owns called Focus Strategies is also involved. Focus Strategies invoiced the Mina campaign through a PAC for $17,000 worth of digital ads that were never made. Normally, there would be a worksheet that showed each digital ad buy and their effect but Foglesong never produced any of those documents.
“It’s a really sad situation,” Kitchens told WESH 2 News. “I’ve known Eric for a long time and have never suspected something like this in other campaigns.”
Mina said he has yet to read through the charging affidavits or the details of the case but he did weigh in on the matter.
“I have been notified that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested the former fundraiser for my political campaign, Eric Fogelsong on charges of grand theft,” Mina said. “I’m outraged that someone with a history in Central Florida politics would steal from the very people he solicited on behalf of my campaign. While I have not reviewed the documents in this case or spoken to investigators, if called upon, I will assist authorities to ensure Fogelsong is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Foglesong also bounced a check from the PAC to pay for the victory party for Mina at a hotel owned by Harris Rosen. That bill was paid by another campaign consultant. Foglesong paid a $5,000 bond to get out of jail and is charged with four counts of grand theft.
Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.