Legal questions raised on Christian Ziegler’s future, potential election of a successor
The definition of chutzpah?

Christian-Ziegler-Featured-Image
The executive committee meets in Jan. 8, but the fight over Sunday's actions may not be over.

The Republican Party of Florida virtually eliminated Chair Christian Ziegler’s salary and set in motion a process of removing him from his position.

But at an Executive Board meeting, it also became clear that legal questions surround the party’s next — and recent — steps.

Most notably, an attorney provided for Ziegler challenged whether Vice Chair Evan Power even had the power to call a Sunday meeting on the Chair’s ongoing sex scandal.

A memo obtained by Florida Politics shows attorney William Klimon, of Compass Legal Group said Republicans extended past any authority granted in bylaws by calling a special meeting.

“The State Committee is governed by its Constitution. The Constitution states that meetings of the Executive Board may be called only by the State Chair. No exception to that rule applies in this case.”

Power, though, has argued Ziegler faced a financial conflict of interest because of his $120,000 annual salary. He asked for Executive Board members to sign onto a call for the Sunday meeting in Orlando. More than three-quarters of the Board members signed onto the meeting, and at least 34 members of the state Executive Committee have now joined the call for a Jan. 8 meeting to vote on Ziegler’s formal removal.

“We have the legal authority, the lawyers and the general counsel ruled,” Power said after the Sunday meeting. “We talked to parliamentarians who ruled that we did. And we reiterated as an Executive Board, that has the powers of the state Executive Committee, that the meeting was in order,” he said.

But reaching out for independent legal advice alone likely signals Ziegler could still challenge the decision. He voted in the meeting against concluding the gathering was in order. Ultimately, Ziegler did not vote on any actions taken against him, which all passed on unanimous voice votes.

This all occurs as Ziegler deals with legal problems of a criminal nature. He remains under investigation for sexual assault. A woman said he forced her to have sex in a Sarasota apartment on Oct. 2. Ziegler has admitted to the relationship but said the tryst was consensual. He and his wife, Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, also admitted to a prior threesome with the accuser more than a year prior.

Many party members said even if Ziegler avoids criminal charges, with a video taken by Christian Ziegler on his phone contradicting key parts of the accuser’s story, he still can no longer effectively lead the party.

“It’s very hard whenever you have the Governor of Florida, his Cabinet, you have members of the Congressional delegation from Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Matt Gaetz, and all call for his resignation,” said Jovante Teague, a Dixie County Republican Party Chair. “And for him not to do that, I believe it puts us in a bad place.”

But that still leaves questions of who should lead the party. Power will act as Chair heading into the January meeting now that Ziegler has been stripped all but $1 of his salary and any authority over party resources.

At the Sunday meeting, questions arose about whether to remove Ziegler and electing a new Chair on the same day were appropriate. Both are expected to appear on the agenda for Jan. 8.

Power is expected to seek the state Chair role permanently, but other figures, including National Committee member Peter Feaman, may also throw their hat in the rink.

Several left the Sunday meeting questioning if, once Ziegler is removed, Power will (or should) have the authority on Jan. 8 to oversee the election for Ziegler’s successor. That decision, like Executive Board actions taken on Sunday, could depend on the sense of the Executive Committee members. Of note, comprising the Executive Committee is a larger group of 256 members, not just the 40 members who sit on the Executive Board.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


13 comments

  • tom palmer

    December 17, 2023 at 9:35 pm

    Cuiorser and curiouser

  • Y’all need an editor - or at least read what you write before posting!

    December 17, 2023 at 11:03 pm

    The phrase is “throw their hat in the ring,” not “rink.”

    • Earl Pitts "Sage Expert on Political Matters" American

      December 18, 2023 at 9:45 am

      Good Morn ‘Tine Y’all Need,
      Please refrain from bashing our “Beloved & Benevolent” on line host, F. P. We are truley blessed that Peter and his hard working, good looking crew, do not censure polite but perhaps opposing views.
      Thank you EPS
      *and remember the “whole spell-check call-out smarty-pants thing” shows weakness and pretty much identifys you as a “suspicious and possably annoying maicontent”.

    • tom palmer

      December 18, 2023 at 5:35 pm

      see that a lot on this site

  • My Take

    December 17, 2023 at 11:31 pm

    Fight them! Drag it out. Don’t give an inch. Tell them you’ll leave when Trumpy declares publicly you havè behaved immorally.

  • My Take

    December 18, 2023 at 12:02 am

    A GOP witch hunt persecution of the Zieglers.
    Long time deranged Ziegler haters in a pack.
    The threesome was perfect.
    The “rape” was “alternate facts” (even though it should be “alternative”).

  • lawyers, guns and money?

    December 18, 2023 at 7:40 am

    Maybe Rona has another $1 Million for legal fees stashed under his pillow or hidden in his cute white boot!

  • Jackie Thurlow

    December 18, 2023 at 8:05 am

    As a donor to the RPOF I am now very interested in the salaries of the FL State Committeemen and State Committee Women, as well as the other RPOF salaries that my donations are paying. Where can I find this specific information? Why does the Chairman of the ROF make so much money, when the volunteers on the ground do all of the work?

    • Impeach Biden

      December 18, 2023 at 9:10 am

      What does Nikki Fried get paid as head of the Demo Party in Florida? I know she bought a very nice house in Tallahassee. Maybe some of the Demo’s that chime in on this board can answer.

      • FloridaPatriot

        December 18, 2023 at 12:12 pm

        She gets most of her money from her stake in the cannabis compnay.

    • I'm NOT the leaker Michael Thompson

      December 18, 2023 at 7:09 pm

      The ONLY paid position on the RPOF Board is the Chairman, the current pay, before yesterday’s meeting was $120k per year…
      The rest of the people on the board, county chairs, State Committeemen, and state Committeewomen don’t get paid. As a matter of fact, they don’t even get reimbursed for travel expenses. It’s a thankless job.

  • Richard Russell

    December 18, 2023 at 9:37 am

    Whoever is elected must be a True America First, MAGA, Republican or the GOP willl continue the same old “go along to get along” corrupt fake opposition to the Democrap policies, until time for the vote – first order of business should be to call for the immediate ouster of the Current National Chairman (Romney’s Niece)!

  • Plumber Joey

    December 18, 2023 at 10:05 am

    In at an will state, every union steward is laughing.

    I say keep him in there and let the entire organization suffer from top to bottom.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704