Bill Roedy bursts into Miami Beach Mayor’s race with $655K first-month haul
Bill Roedy spent more than $2 million of his money on becoming Miami Beach Mayor. Image via Bill Roedy.

Nearly 90% came from his own bank account.

It took former MTV and HBO executive Bill Roedy just one month to come within striking distance of having the most significant war chest among four candidates vying to be the next Mayor of Miami Beach.

In June, his first month running, Roedy amassed $655,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Miami Beach Leadership in Action.

Nearly 90% of that haul came from his bank account.

The 75-year-old Independent Party of Florida member also spent $411,000. Most of it went to advertising, including a prime-time TV spot during Game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 8.

By June 30, he had about $244,000 left.

Aside from the $580,000 self-donation, Roedy benefited from the generosity of several deep-pocketed donors with whom he’s had past dealings.

Mike Fries, CEO and Vice Chair of the international TV and broadband company Liberty Global, gave $25,000. In 2012, Fries presented Roedy with the Chello Foundation Humanitarian Award.

He also received $25,000 from Stephanie Perlman, wife of Zumba Fitness co-founder Alberto Perlman. Roedy has served as an informal adviser to Zumba.

Miami-born entrepreneur David Giampolo, a Zumba director and the CEO of London-based investor club Pi Capital, chipped in $14,500. He and Roedy are among several noteworthy co-investors in the yoga and wellness startup Sarva.

The preponderance of Roedy’s June spending — $229,000 — went to New York-based advertising company SKDK. Other media-related expenditures included more than $9,000 paid to New Orleans photographer Luke Fontana, $7,500 for “campaign production” services from The A-Team, a South Florida-based marketing agency, and $2,500 to Beto Giraldo, director of public relations for the Miami Beach-based production and recording studio Alacran Group.

Consultants got theirs too.

Roedy paid $34,000 to The Story Room LLC, a Miami Beach-headquartered company whose founder and CEO, Antoinette Alfonso Zel, is his campaign’s full-time chief of staff.

He also transferred $12,000 to Coral Gables-based Alex Miranda for “voter contact/data” and $5,000 to MMH Consulting in Tampa.

Other spending included $13,000 to Fort Lauderdale-based Ritters Printing and Packaging for voter outreach and nearly $11,000 to Miami-headquartered Marin and Sons for polling.

Former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Góngora, 53, had another round of solid fundraising in June when he took in more than $225,000.

After spending $37,000 in June, Góngora — the race’s longest-running candidate and its top fundraiser so far — had about $544,000 remaining between his campaign account and electioneering communications organization (ECO), Leaders We Trust.

More than four of every five donations he accepted came through personal checks ranging from $25 to $1,000. Most were for the latter.

His biggest donor was a $190,000 infusion from A Better Future for Miami Beach, an ECO run by Tallahassee lawyer Mark Herron supporting Góngora’s campaign.

As The Real Deal reported June 8, a large portion of the funds A Better Future has raised came from real estate companies, including Location Ventures, which is under local and federal investigation for payments made to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez while seeking approval for a project it sought within Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood.

Suarez, who is running for President, is under investigation as well.

Miami Beach campaign finance rules prohibit developers, lobbyists and vendors with pending matters before the city from making political contributions to candidates’ campaigns and political committees. Candidates, in turn, are barred from soliciting such donations. But that rule does not apply to ECOs, which can run advertisements supporting or opposing candidates within 60 days of an election if the ads do not expressly instruct voters to vote for a candidate.

Góngora, a Democrat, paid more than $28,000 to DRC Consulting Inc., a Miami-based firm, for research, voter data, photography and mailers.

His remaining spending in June covered Hispanic voter outreach, campaign staff pay, food, event costs, travel, software subscriptions, accounting and donation-processing fees.

His financial report also shows a $75 payment for an ad on Facebook.

Former state Rep. Mike Grieco, a 47-year-old Democrat, raised $41,545 in June, his second-lowest fundraising month since launching his mayoral bid six months ago.

As of June 31, he had $453,000 remaining between his campaign account and political committee, Strong Leadership for South Florida.

About 30 people gave to Grieco, most with checks of three figures or less. Noteworthy donations included a $5,000 check from restaurateur and real estate investor Nick Smith, who purchased a $6.1 million home in the city in October, and $4,000 from capital investor James Bailey.

Miami-based real estate development and hospitality investment firm Massa Investment Group gave $10,000. Miami Beach-based digital design and marketing company Appel Consulting and Boca Raton-headquartered environmental waste business Creative Waste Solutions each donated $5,000.

Grieco also accepted a $5,000 contribution from two companies linked to Paul Cejas, a real estate and health care investor who served as Ambassador to Belgium under former President Bill Clinton.

Grieco, who previously served on the Miami Beach City Commission before winning the Florida House seat he forwent defending last year, spent $43,000 in June.

Most of it went to consultants. EDGE Communications, the Miami-based firm run by ubiquitous South Florida consultant Christian Ulvert, received nearly $16,000 in June alone.

Grieco paid $10,000 to South Miami-based SRS Solutions for fundraising consulting and more than $10,000 to Michael Worley’s MDW Communications for a host of services. He also shelled out $7,500 to New Jersey-based JHSM Holdings for text messaging and $1,200 to voter outreach pro Nicole Arango.

The rest covered food, rental supplies, event fees and upkeep costs.

Miami Beach Vice Mayor Steven Meiner, who entered the race June 2 hoping to remove “Vice” from his title this November, raised about $20,000 through the end of the month.

All came through his campaign account, the only repository for political contributions the 52-year-old Democrat says he has now.

Meiner’s gains came exclusively through 30 personal checks. Fourteen were for $1,000. The rest averaged $227 per contribution.

June appeared to be a campaign ramp-up period for him, evidenced by $3,500 on lawn signs and $600 on a website.

His only other expenditure was a $700 fee payment to Anedot, a donation-processing platform.

Roedy, Góngora, Grieco, and Meiner are competing to succeed Democratic Mayor Dan Gelber, a former state lawmaker who comfortably won a third and final term as the city’s top elected official in late 2021.

The General Election is on Nov. 7. If no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote earners will compete in a Nov. 21 runoff.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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