The day after lobbyist Frank Tsamoutales sued former Senate President Mike Haridopolos for fraud and breach of contract, Haridopolos shot back with his own lawsuit, saying Tsamoutales never paid him.
Haridopolos filed his own breach of contract claim Tuesday in Brevard Circuit Civil Court; the former senator lives in Merritt Island. He served as President in 2010-12 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, ending his campaign in 2011.
In August 2013, Haridopolos went to work as an independent contractor for Tsamoutales Strategies, a lobbying firm that is based in Tallahassee but represents clients across the state and country. The deal included pay of $240,000 a year.
Tsamoutales sued first in Leon County, alleging Haridopolos “trad(ed) on his former political positions to receive large sums of money” instead of “performing meaningful work,” according to that complaint.
Haridopolos’s suit says he “provided the required services” through his termination last December but Tsamoutales “failed and refused to pay” him. He says he’s still owed “in excess of $350,000.”
Tsamoutales “knew a lawsuit from me against him for nonpayment was imminent,” Haridopolos told FloridaPolitics.com on Monday. “Just last week, … he offered to pay me a fraction of what he owes me for consulting retainers over the last year and a half.”
Tsamoutales – who has worked on campaigns for President Ronald Reagan, then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee – did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
He also is suing Haridopolos for tortious interference with a contractual relationship, saying he wrongly “encouraged and induced” lobbyist Amy Bisceglia to leave Tsamoutales’ firm, taking confidential information so that she and Haridopolos could steal lobbying clients from Tsamoutales, that suit said.
Bisceglia packed up her belongings, “unbeknownst to Tsamoutales,” when the office was closed in December “for a 2-week paid Christmas break.” She turned in her resignation on Jan. 4, according to the complaint.
Jim Rosica ([email protected]) covers the Florida Legislature, state agencies and courts from Tallahassee.