Politics

‘Ghost’ candidate Jestine Iannotti booked into Seminole jail

Jestine Iannotti, the previous Seminole County change instructor whose unbiased 2020 bid for Florida Senate District 9 used to be central to the statewide “ghost” candidate scandal, used to be booked into the Seminole County Jail on Wednesday morning.

She used to be jailed about 11:30 a.m. and launched more or less two hours later after posting $4,500 bond.

Her transient detention equipped an extraordinary glimpse of Iannotti, 36, who by no means campaigned for the seat and spent weeks previous to the November 2020 election in Sweden, the place she moved after the race used to be determined.

A booking photo for Jestine Iannotti, 36, the "ghost" candidate who ran in Senate District 9 in 2020, after she surrendered for arrest at the Seminole County Jail.

Mailers selling her marketing campaign — commissioned via a Tallahassee operative as a part of what Miami prosecutors have described as a vote-siphoning scheme to assist Republicans win key Senate races — featured a inventory picture of a Black girl however not one of the candidate.

Iannotti, 36, faces 5 misdemeanors and one legal: fee of a false or fraudulent act. She’s accused of accepting an unlawful $1,200 contribution from political guide Eric Foglesong and, together with him, reporting false donor names to the state for different contributions.

In textual content messages accumulated via the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Iannotti and Foglesong seemed to frankly talk about the deception.

“So unofficially who gave the extra money,” she requested, responding to an inventory of names and quantities. “Me,” Foglesong responded. Iannotti then requested Foglesong if he used to be “OK with that even though you know I’m not gonna win.”

“Yep,” he stated, consistent with an FDLE document.

Her marketing campaign reported most effective 4 donors: Foglesong, Todd Karvoski, Steven Smith and Adam Heath.

Text messages gathered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement appear to show Eric Foglesong confirming to Jestine Iannotti that he was the true source of money her campaign reported as coming from outside donors.
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Foglesong, 45, surrendered to the prison Tuesday, going through 5 counts together with 3 felonies. He used to be later launched after posting bail.

Karvoski advised the Orlando Sentinel — and, later, FDLE brokers — that he by no means gave to Iannotti and didn’t know who she used to be. The FDLE document presentations he described Foglesong as an occasional ingesting good friend who he’d as soon as given his deal with so Foglesong may select him up on how to a bar.

Smith additionally advised brokers he by no means gave to Iannotti. But in contrast to Karvoski, he knew how his title wound up on her ledger: He stated his cousin Ben Paris — Seminole County’s present GOP chair — referred to as him in June 2020 and requested to make use of his title to donate to a chum’s marketing campaign.

Paris, 38, is now additionally going through a misdemeanor rate of constructing a contribution thru or within the title of every other.

At the time of the 2020 District 9 race, Paris labored for its eventual winner, Sanford Republican Jason Brodeur, on the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce. Paris used to be the chamber’s vp of operations till he resigned Tuesday in mild of his prison rate.

He had no longer been booked into the prison as of Wednesday afternoon.

jeweiner@orlandosentinel.com



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