TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Leon County Democratic Executive Committee is asking for donations from individuals with ties to Florida State University and/or Seminole Boosters to Tallahassee mayor John Dailey's re-election campaign be returned.
According to Leon County Supervisor of Elections campaign finance records, in January, at least 10 individuals with ties to FSU donated to Dailey’s re-election campaign.
The request to return funds was made with a vote by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency to approve renovations to FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium approaching.
The Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency is a collaboration between the city of Tallahassee and the Leon County government to address infrastructure needs in the city and county.
The entity will decide if FSU will receive $20 million from sales tax for safety upgrades to the stadium.
Seminole Boosters plans to cover $100 million of the estimated $120 million in renovations to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Dailey is a member of Blueprint's board of directors.
The individuals that donated to Dailey’s campaign include some current and former Florida State University board of trustee members, some Florida State University Foundation trustee members and some Seminole Boosters board and/or director at-large members.
In some cases, contributors gave the maximum amount allowed per individual allowed by state law for a non-statewide office, which is $1,000.
Some trustees used their business to contribute to Dailey’s campaign.
According to a Feb. 9 Campaign Treasurer's report summery provided to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office, Dailey's campaign received $38,450 in donations last month.
OurTallahassee.com was first to report the donations to Dailey's campaign.
The mayor's position is a non-partisan position.
This week, the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee passed a resolution:
“The Leon County Democratic Executive Committee resolves that all campaign contributions to elected-officials and voting members of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency or any public commission from persons currently or formerly affiliated with Florida State University leadership or leadership of its affiliates, including but not limited to the FSU Alumni Association, FSU Foundation, and Seminole Boosters, Inc. as well as anyone who may appear to financially benefit from the decisions of the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency (or any public commission) be returned or rejected in effort to maintain public trust.”
Steven Broadway, the corresponding secretary for the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee, acknowledged to ABC 27 Wednesday that part of the reason for passing the resolution was due to donations received by Dailey's campaign from those associated with FSU along with opposition from constituents to fund the Doak project.
Broadway hopes the passing of the resolution will give more credence and deference to the public.
He added he hopes the mayor will return the funds in question to strengthen public trust.
"If there is truly no influence and the mayor thinks this is in the best interest of the citizens of Leon County, it doesn't matter if he has campaign funds provided by individuals who could potentially benefit from it," Broadway said.
Dailey has been a supporter of a proposed project to provide $20 million to upgrade Doak Campbell Stadium, the home of the university's football team.
On Dec. 9, 2021, Dailey was one of the yes votes in support of bond financing for renovations to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Blueprint’s next meeting is Thursday, Feb. 24.
Dailey, who was elected mayor of the city of Tallahassee in 2018, is up for re-election this year.
"Since I have been mayor of Tallahassee for the past 3 1/2 years, I have brought in sweeping changes of transparency," Dailey told ABC 27 Wednesday. "We have the strongest ethnics ordinance in the history of the city of Tallahassee; the strongest of any municipality."
Dailey added that he believes in full transparency and everyone has the right to know who legally donates to a campaign.
The mayor noted a rough estimate of more than 100,000 people either work for, graduated from or support FSU locally.
"To suggest that they should not participate in the democratic process is voter suppression and I seriously will never, ever support that," Dailey said.
When asked if an individual or entity that could "financially benefit" from the Doak Campbell Stadium improvements should be allowed to donate to a campaign, Dailey noted he hopes the entire community financially benefits by the vote to move forward.
Dailey noted he has not had discussions with the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee about the resolution it passed nor about donations his campaign received.
The mayor believes other local candidates have received donations from people connected to FSU and Seminole Boosters.
Dailey reiterated that he is proud that the campaign financing process is transparent.