Does Lynn Hurtak campaign have ties to a registered sex offender?

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Giovani "Gio" Fucarino is an alias for John Ring Jr., a registered sex offender.

Tampa City Council member Lynn Hurtak has been receiving consulting services and financial support in her campaign for District 3 from an individual convicted of a sex crime and currently registered as a sex offender. 

John Robert Ring Jr. was adjudicated guilty on October 19, 2010 of unlawful sexual activity with a minor aged 16 or 17 years old. Based on the adjudication date, Ring would have been just shy of 40 years old at the time of the offense. 

A person is guilty of that charge if they are “24 years of age or older” and engage “in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age,” with sexual activity defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another.” It “does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.”

He was arrested last week, on March 17, for failure to register “electronic mail addresses or internet identifiers,” according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office arrest record.

Ring’s name isn’t on any of Hurtak’s campaign documents. That’s because he’s utilizing an alias, Giovani “Gio” Fucarino. 

Photos of Fucarino match the photo on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) offender flyer for Ring, and public records for Fucarino’s address match the address listed on the FDLE registry for Ring. The FDLE photo is current as of this month. A search for Ring’s name also shows pages listing Fucarino as an “associate.”

Giovani “Gio” Fucarino (left) is an alias of John Robert Ring Jr. (right.)

Fucarino has been seen at several of Hurtak’s campaign events, including fundraisers, and he has introduced himself to supporters as a consultant aiding in her campaign. 

Fucarino donated $250 to Hurtak’s campaign on Nov. 22 and another $1,000 on Jan. 19. Individual contributions are capped at $1,000, but that cap resets per election, meaning Fucarino can donate up to $2,000 this 2023 election cycle. Finance records are current through March 2.

In an email response to Florida Politics’ inquiry, Hurtak said she was unaware of Fucarino’s alias or criminal history until this week and that she was introduced to him by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

“Mayor Castor told me he was a good friend of hers and a valuable resource to get input from Ybor City residents and business owners, and I took her advice. He has had no role in my campaign other than being a host for a single event; similarly, he was a host for Mayor Castor’s re-election launch event,” Hurtak said.

Adam Smith, Castor’s communications director and spokesperson, told Creative Loafing that was not true.

“Mayor Castor has zero recollection of introducing this person to Lynn Hurtak and certainly never encouraged her to make him an advisor,” Smith said.

Hurtak is facing her first campaign. She was appointed to City Council District 3 last year following her predecessor’s resignation. Now she faces an election contest against former Sen. Janet Cruz in a runoff election April 25. Hurtak finished first in the March 8 election amid a crowded field with nearly 43% support. Cruz followed in second with nearly 39%, enough to force round two.

The race has been marked by what could be best described as a referendum on Castor. Hurtak has been part of a three-member coalition to vote against Castor’s administration or in favor of measures to erode her executive authority.

Cruz, meanwhile, has something of a familial relationship with the Mayor. Her daughter, Ana Cruz, is Castor’s longtime partner. Castor has, not surprisingly, endorsed Cruz and the two share at least some campaign staff.

The race has been heated, with Hurtak, prior to the election this month, calling Cruz out for her relationship with the Mayor and her family during an NAACP candidate forum and Cruz following with a backhanded question for Hurtak, asking if she has a problem with gay people. The Cruz campaign has been sending out mailers referring to Hurtak as “Lying Lynn.”

While both women are registered Democrats, Hurtak is the progressive darling while Cruz is the more moderate liberal. Hurtak’s campaign has ties to local Democratic Socialists.

As of March 2, Cruz maintains a fundraising advantage with about $43,000 on hand. Hurtak, meanwhile, had about $29,000 on hand.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Larry

    March 22, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    I’m disgusted that Florida Politics published this Janet Cruz invented piece of crap without checking on any facts or anything. Fucarino has been around, advising various local politicians for years. There are photos of him with various public officials, including Cruz’s own family members. “Hurtak’s campaign has ties to Democratic Socialists”? Really??? Don’t you think you could have at least tried not to sound like you are quoting from Cruz’s ugly campaign propaganda? You are pathetic, and a terrible journalist.

    • Mary D. Walker

      March 23, 2023 at 9:08 am

      I’m disgusted that you’re defending a registered sex offender, Larry.

      • Bwj

        March 23, 2023 at 6:29 pm

        Your point? Being registered shouldn’t disqualify the man from the chance to hold a job.

    • cassandra

      March 23, 2023 at 4:15 pm

      LOL…Peter is a little obvious.

      Janet and Jane are so unethical and desperate! I think commenter “Mary D. Walker”— in all her aliases— is just Peetie trying to show what a trashy campaign Cruz is running!

    • cassandra

      March 23, 2023 at 4:30 pm

      PS: Larry, pretty sure Peter was just trying to get commenters to say exactly what you did. He knows his column is all bs.

  • Michael Fanning

    March 23, 2023 at 12:05 am

    This is pure pay to play bullshit.

  • Mary D. Walker

    March 23, 2023 at 9:06 am

    Absolutely disgusting. Shame on Lynn Hurtak. How can we trust her to protect Tampa children if she associates with registered sex offenders?

  • Crystal J. Stowe

    March 23, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Wow, it’s appalling that Lynn Hurtak was connected to a registered sex offender. This is completely unacceptable, and there is no excuse for it.

  • Boyce Daniels

    March 23, 2023 at 9:18 am

    How do you go from John Ring to Gio Fucarino? Shame on Lynn Hurtak for not vetting her advisory team.

  • James Blackwell

    March 23, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    We cannot allow this sort of behavior to go unchecked.

  • Donna D. Gerber

    March 23, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    Receiving consulting services and financial support from a sex offender is deeply troubling..This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated! SMH!!

  • Josefa Card

    March 23, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    Lynn Hurtak’s campaign having links to a registered sex offender.raises serious questions about her judgement

  • Verna Nelson

    March 23, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    This cannot be tolerated. Lynn needs to be held accountable for their actions. Protect vulnerable children!

  • Mariah D. Reid

    March 23, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    Lynn Hurtak has gone too far. It’s time to do the right thing – let’s hold her accountable!

  • Roy S. Hedrick

    March 23, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    It is deeply concerning that Lynn Hurtak’s campaign has ties to a registered sex offender. We NEED truth, justice and the safety of our community.

  • Derek Woolsey

    March 23, 2023 at 2:52 pm

    It’s hard to believe that someone would be so careless as to put our children in harm’s way.

  • Barbara Cunningham

    March 23, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    The fact that Lynn Hurtak worked with a registered sex offender is extremely concerning. No one should have to take such an outrageous risk.

  • Jeanne Walker

    March 23, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    Wow.. this shows a complete disregard for the safety of children, and it’s disgusting that she ever trusted this person to represent her campaign in any capacity. No one should be subjected to such an unforgivable risk – both personally and politically – by someone they’re putting their trust in to lead them.

  • Doris M. Cannon

    March 23, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Lynn Hurtak’s decision to associate with a registered sex offender is downright disgraceful, and it puts the safety of our children in jeopardy.

  • Taylor Hall

    March 23, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    This is unbelievable! How can Lynn Hurtak even think of working with a registered sex offender? This kind of recklessness is unforgiveable.

  • Jason Nott

    March 23, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    It’s time to hold Lynn Hurtak accountable and stand up for our kids!

  • Andrea Cook

    March 23, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Enough is enough!! We must take a stand against anyone who makes attempts to support sexual offenders. Lynn Hurtak needs to be held accountable for this…

    • Bwj

      March 23, 2023 at 6:36 pm

      Exactly what do you mean by support? Most sex crimes are committed by people not on the registry. Most victims know their assailants personally. The vast majority of people who have been convicted are released back into society where their recidivism is extremely low.

  • Thomas Kaspar

    March 23, 2023 at 11:40 pm

    Developer consultant Bob Buckhorn and Queen Jane Castors wives mother Janet Cruz creating their Rainbow Mafia City Council to line their pockets with fees from condos . Trashing this guy Gio to taint Lynn Hurtek nothing more .

  • Mickey

    March 24, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    First, the lady had no idea of this guys background. He was even referred by the Mayor. Secondly, do you have any idea how easy it is to be a so called ” sex offender” in Florida? Heck, you can become a sex offender for urinating outside. . All sex offenders are not equal. And the guy made a mistake in his life it was nearly 14 yrs ago. So, he can’t go about his life after a mistake and engage in a profession to make a living for himself and his family?

Comments are closed.


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