Former congressional candidate Christine Quinn paid travel expenses for two Tampa Bay area men to attend a rally for former President Donald Trump, which infamously devolved into a riot at the U.S. Capitol. Now she’s suing the men to pay her back.
Quinn ran as a Republican against U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat, in both 2016 and 2020. She filed a lawsuit against Community Patriots of Tampa and members Jeff Hawks and Scott Courtney, alleging they owe her money for expenses she covered to get them to the infamous rally-turned-insurrection.
In the suit, Quinn says she agreed to fly the conservative organizers on a private jet to the planned rally. Quinn says she was told the two men were supposed to be “security detail” at the rally but could not afford the trip, so she agreed to cover the expenses, including a stay at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center.
According to the suit, Hawks’ promised Quinn that the Community Patriots’ “big donors” would repay her within 30 days of the trip. Quinn, who is a “Lifetime Member” of Community Patriots of Tampa, never received the money.
“Scott Courtney is affiliated with the Community Patriots of Tampa. (He) reached out to me and said that he would be writing the check to pay this and then I never heard from Scott again, so I had no other choice than to file suit in small claims against them individually ands as a group,” Quinn told Florida Politics.
Now, Quinn is looking to settle the debt in a small claims case, seeking reimbursement for the hotel rooms and rental car, and for her $250 membership to Community Patriots, an organization she claims Hawks falsely represented as being tax-exempt.
“Jeff has been misleading people and I felt it was not only my obligation to expose their deception, it was my responsibility as their elected Candidate to uphold justice and protect the innocent people that are not aware of what is happening within the leadership of this group,” Quinn said.
“I am no longer a member of the Community Patriots of Tampa,” Quinn said. “I was not aware at the time I joined, that this group was nonpartisan. It was my understanding that it was a Conservative Republican Group that supported Trump. Which by the way, the other members and attendee’s, were also under the impression it was a conservative Republican organization.”
And, things previously got heated between the two, according to text messages provided in the complaint. At one point when asking for payment, Hawks told Quinn, “You violated my rules of my organization…You will be escorted off the property….quit running your mouth about me.”
Later in the thread, Quinn wrote, “FBI came here yesterday — tensions are high. I hear the same BS you do and I am distancing myself from all of it. From now on, everything goes through Allison. But whats between you and I we can work out- not to worry.”
Quinn said that she attended the peaceful Trump Rally that occurred earlier that day, but was not with Hawks during the rally. She also said she did not attend the events at the Capitol.
“I actually left the rally early before Trump even spoke. It was cold and crowded. So I listened to the speech from a local restaurant down the street and stayed warm,” Quinn said.
The organization Community Patriots advertises itself as a non-profit formed in July 2020 by Hawks.
“We stand for ‘God, Country, Community, and Constitution’. We are a non-violent, non-partisan, grassroots movement born of pride and love for the United States of America,” its Facebook description reads.
Its associated political committee is Frontline Patriots, according to the organization’s site.
Although Community Patriots accepts donations, it is not identified by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization and is not listed on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Check-A-Charity
Community Patriots’ next event is the Tampa Freedom Festival, which will take place at an American Legion post this Saturday.
Florida Politics reached out to Community Patriots of Tampa and associated contacts but has not received comment.