A lawyer for lobbyist Frank Tsamoutales on Wednesday said former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos‘ countersuit in an ongoing breach of contract dispute is “baseless.”
“It is just sad and disappointing that after having been treated for years with nothing but kindness and generosity that Mike Haridopolos is now making these baseless claims for money he did not earn and is not owed,” attorney Douglas Marks wrote in an email.
On Monday, Tsamoutales sued Haridopolos on a fraud and contract breach complaint, saying Haridopolos “trad(ed) on his former political positions to receive large sums of money” instead of “performing meaningful work.”
Haridopolos responded in kind with a lawsuit against Tsamoutales that his former friend never paid him for the lobbying work he did.
Untrue, Marks said.
“Mr. Haridopolos was paid about $400,000 and we have the cancelled checks to prove it,” he said. “He was told at the beginning of last year that his contract was not renewed for 2015. His invoices were returned throughout the year with letters telling him he no longer had a contract and he wasn’t going to be paid.
“Most people would understand what that means,” Marks said. “So now we have no choice but to vigorously pursue this in the courts where we expect to prevail because the facts, the law and the truth are on our side.”
In August 2013, Haridopolos went to work as an independent contractor for Tsamoutales Strategies, a lobbying business 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; Haridopolos filed in his home county of Brevard. The former senator lives in Merritt Island. He was state Senate President in 2010-12 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, ending his campaign in 2011.
Haridopolos’ lawsuit says he “provided the required services” through his termination this past December but Tsamoutales “failed and refused to pay” him. He says he’s still owed “in excess of $350,000.”
Jim Rosica (email@example.com) covers the Florida Legislature, state agencies and courts from Tallahassee.