Democratic Senate candidate Daphne Campbell recently told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel she had “never” been a party to a civil lawsuit.
A simple search of the Miami-Dade County Courts website shows that’s not true.
Campbell made the claim as part of a candidate questionnaire series she completed as she runs in the Senate District 35 contest.
As part of that late June questionnaire, Campbell was asked, “Have you ever been a plaintiff or a defendant in a civil action, including bankruptcy or foreclosure, or had a restraining order issued against you? If so, please explain.”
Campbell replied, “Never.”
The Miami-Dade County Courts website lists 10 different cases where Campbell was a named party. In nine of those 10 cases, Campbell was listed as the defendant, meaning she was the one being sued.
At least seven of those cases involve foreclosure actions where both Campbell and her husband Hubert were named as defendants. The Sun-Sentinel questionnaire explicitly lists foreclosure as an example of a civil action.
Most of those cases were dismissed after Campbell and the bank in question came to an agreement to resolve the matter. However, one of the cases did move to completion and resulted in commercial property owned by the Campbell’s being turned over to a third-party purchaser.
The only case where Campbell was a plaintiff was a 2010 lawsuit borne out of the Democratic primary for House District 108. Campbell sued to kick her primary opponent, Alix Desulme, off the ballot. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed and Campbell defeated Desulme by a 52%-48% margin, going on to take the seat.
Only one of the 10 cases remains open. That case stems from a lawsuit filed by Campbell’s former campaign manager, Nacivre Charles.
Charles helped Campbell win Senate District 38 in 2016. Campbell then lost the seat two years later after attorney Jason Pizzo defeated her in the Democratic primary.
Charles’ lawsuit alleges Campbell failed to fully pay him for his services. Attached to Charles’ lawsuit is a contract — which appears to be signed by Charles and Campbell — where Charles agreed to “perform as campaign manager to run and strategize duties” in exchange for payment of $25,000.
According to the complaint, Charles was only paid $6,500 of that total. Campbell has disputed the claims.
“You don’t see that’s politics?” Campbell said of the lawsuit. “He wasn’t even my campaign manager. That guy wasn’t my manager. I never had no manager, okay?”
Campbell’s own 2016 financial reports belie that claim, however. Those filings show nine separate payments totaling $9,268 to Charles. In all of those payments, Charles is listed as “managing campaign,” “managing campaign activities” or “campaign manager.”
Four payments totaling $1,650 listed Charles as a “campaign worker.”
It’s unclear whether all of those payments were made pursuant to the $25,000 contract Charles alleges the parties agreed to. If so, Campbell would owe less than the $18,500 Charles alleged.
Campbell is one of six Democrats competing in a crowded primary field for the SD 35 seat. Also running are Miami Gardens City Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro, outgoing Reps. Shevrin Jones and Barbara Watson, former firefighter Wilbur Harbin and former Rep. Cynthia Stafford.
Write-in candidate Darien Hill also qualified for the seat.