The election battle for Orange County Commission’s District 3 seat took a nasty turn when incumbent Commissioner Mayra Uribe alleged in a Facebook post that her opponent was stalking her.
Her chief opponent, former Commissioner Pete Clarke, said he was stunned. So were a number of political observers who’ve known Clarke for many years and found Uribe’s allegation last Friday hard to believe.
“It’s just ridiculous,” Clarke said, denying Uribe’s assertions.
The matter now has the attention of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Clarke said Tuesday that he personally called the Sheriff’s Office on Friday asking them to look into Uribe’s allegation and received a text that a probe would be assigned to the Sheriff’s intelligence unit.
Then on Tuesday, Orange County environmental activist Chuck O’Neal filed a complaint against Uribe with the Florida Commission on Ethics.
“Falsely accusing one’s opponent of such heinous acts is beneath the office of Orange County Commissioner and will undoubtedly sway some votes in the August 18th primary. This kind of unethical act is detrimental to the democratic process and pollutes the open discussion of ideas and policy positions upon which fair elections depend,” O’Neal’s complaint charges.
Uribe did not respond to requests from Florida Politics for comment.
On Friday, she posted on Facebook saying, “Sadly this is what politics has become. Constant personal attacks, racial slurs and blatant lies. This week I found my opponent sitting in my driveway (stalking) our family, received multiple hate filled texts/voicemails, and even social media pictures, (like below.)”
The pictures are of a mailer and a couple of comments posted on Facebook not by Clarke.
Uribe has two election opponents in the Aug. 18 nonpartisan election, Clarke, and retired Orlando Police Officer Bill Moore.
Moore also denied having done any of the things Uribe alleged.
In comments below the post she wrote on Friday, Uribe appeared to clarify she was talking about Clarke anyway. Responding to someone else’s comment, she replied, “to be clear, Pete was sitting in driveway.”
Several responses to her post were from people who defended Clarke.
“I am certain Pete would not approve of this,” wrote one.
“Pete Clarke wouldn’t do any of these things you just said,” wrote another.
And Clarke, widely known as one of the most respectful figures in Orange County politics, said the same thing. He insisted he has never been in her driveway and would never send, or stand for anyone sending, hate-filled communications.
“It’s just not the way I operate,” Clarke said.
“She took it down. It was up a day and a half,” he added. “I hope all the folks who gave her money are proud of themselves now.”
Moore also expressed indignation.
As a former police officer, Moore cited the law, and said, “For someone to allege stalking, they better have their ducks in a row.”
O’Neal is a Democrat, but he is supporting Clarke, a Republican, over Uribe, a Democrat, because of their positions on the Split Oak Preserve. O’Neal said he filed his ethics complaint not because of his support for Clarke, because he was appalled at the allegations leveled against him.
“Politics is one thing, but destroying a man’s character goes beyond the pale,” O’Neal said.
August 4, 2020 at 7:06 pm
That’s a great and truthful article Scott, I had a friend of mine Call who is a constituent trying to inquire about the PPP money and she flat out made a comment to her once the Lady mentioned my name. Mayra said I hate Pete Crotty that’s the same day that she went before the conservative ministers telling everybody that she loves everybody. I’ve never Said and I and kind word about this lady. Furthermore she has been being supported by Randy Ross who is running for Republican state committeeman. How can a republican state committeeman support a liberal Democrat not only currently but against my race in 2018 . We would really appreciated if you could please let the public Where of the RR
Ayme R. Smith
August 4, 2020 at 8:26 pm
Scott, I hope Florida Politics will allow you to follow-up on the Sheriff’s investigation and the results of the ethics committee.
I would be pleased if the Orlando Sentinel would fairly cover this dishonorable action by the candidate the paper endorsed. A community-focus paper would do nothing less.
August 4, 2020 at 9:15 pm
It actually doesn’t surprise me. She.lied to everyone that voted for her when she campaigned to protect the environment. Had major Campaign Contributions from Construction Companies and then voted to have a six lane road highway through protected wetlands and Split Oak. She needs to be investigated. I also believe there are several complaints of her husband being caught behind her desk in Commissioners office ready private and confidential Orange County information.
August 5, 2020 at 12:30 am
Thank you Mr. Powers for bringing this issue to the public’s attention. I have known Pete Clarke for well over 25 years. He has established a highly respected reputation in Orange County as a previous Orange County Commissioner and, prior to that, as a senior administrator for Orange County Government. This charge by a Mayra Uribe is outrageous and disgusting. For her to make this unsubstantiated allegation just before voting shows how low she will go to tarnish her opponent in an attempt to win an election. She owes both Mr. Clarke and the citizens of Orange County and her district an immediate public apology. Ms. Uribe is not fit to hold the public trust as an elected official.
August 5, 2020 at 5:12 pm
Women are killed, abused and stalked daily by men and in every single case, neighbors and friends of the accused say they never thought he could do something like that. That he was a nice guy. Just something to think about. Not saying neither of Ms. Uribe’s oppenents are not nice guys, but nobody can know somebody 100%. As far as Crotty and Ross? Thats a joke. The ocrec will be in rough shape if either of them win scm. Best of luck to them (the ocrec, not Ross or Crotty).
August 7, 2020 at 2:55 am
D3 Resident, stalking is a criminal offense in the State of Florida (FS 748.048). You are partially right. Women (and men) are killed, abused and stalked frequently. Neighbors and friends of the accused, in many cases, say they never thought he could do something like that. However, in this case, Pete immediately, without hesitation, went to law enforcement to have them look into the allegation by his opponent. Surely his opponent would have evidence (photos, video, collaborative witnesses, etc.) and would have already contacted law enforcement if her Facebook allegation was true. Instead, his opponent quickly took down the stalking allegation on Facebook after Pete went to the Sheriff’s office. Just something to think about.
Comments are closed.