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WAECHTER AND THE FEC Bob Waechter (far left, second row) watches the swearing in of county commissioners in November 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel STATE AUTHORITIES FINE FORMER SARASOTA GOP CHIEF By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Former Republican Party of Sarasota County Chairman Bob Waechter's criminal trial won't start till next month, but in the meantime, the Florida Elections Commission has found "probable cause" of an election law violation and fined him $750. Ramirez, has already weighed in on one of the fake donations. According to a four-page document given to The Sarasota News Leader by Ramirez, the Elections Commission has reached a "consent final order" agreement with Waechter in the case of the Alpert donaProsecutors charged Waechter late last year tion and fined him for his role. with Criminal Use of Personal Identification The $35 Alpert donation was made online in Information, a third-degree felony, for alRamirez's name on Oct. 2, 2012 with a prepaid legedly making donations to two 2012 DemVISA credit card. According to the Elections ocratic candidates, Keith Fitzgerald and Liz Commission, a card loaded with $500 was purAlpert, in the name of Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations President chased that same day at a Sarasota Sweetbay Lourdes Ramirez. A Republican, Ramirez is by "an individual resembling" Waechter. a likely 2014 County Commission candidate. Elections Commission staff and Waechter Waechter's trial isn't scheduled to begin till Oct. 21 (with a docket sounding planned for Oct. 7), but the state Elections Commission, responding to a complaint lodged by reached an agreement in May to settle the issue, with Waechter accepting the $750 fine. The commission itself ratified the order just last month.

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