Orlando’s District 3 City Council race is getting personal.
Candidate Asima Azam’s husband, Dr. Moeed Azam, filed a public records request last week seeking disclosure of financial information relating to Commissioner Robert Stuart’s use of his district discretionary expense account, city purchasing card and permitting fee waiver requests. It also asks for Stuart’s emails, Facebook and Dropbox accounts dating back to Oct. 1, 2014.
Stuart, who has held the seat since 2006, said he has nothing to hide. He estimates the request includes about 19,000 emails and thousands of Facebook comments. He said he doesn’t conduct city business on Facebook and has no city Dropbox account.
“If she’s searching for something God love her, that’s what challengers do,” said Stuart, the executive director of the Christian Service Center who prides himself on following all the rules. “I’m telling you there’s nothing there. If her strategy is to look for emails of people complaining, it’s probably legal but rude.”
Stuart said his staff is trying to figure out what the public records search will cost Azam.
Azam said the request was made following an April 25th Baldwin Park Homeowner Association Board meeting her husband attended to request a review on the board’s denial to allow Azam to sponsor a campaign booth at the neighborhood’s Fourth of July event. Asima Azam said her husband was representing her as she could not attend the meeting.
The couple lives in Baldwin Park.
“Our campaign noted at the meeting that Commissioner Stuart’s photo was prominently placed on the Baldwin Park Independence Day Bash 2017 website as a sponsor, despite having been told by the association that it has been the HOA’s policy to not allow political candidates to participate in HOA events,” Azam said.
Stuart’s photo has been removed from the website.
Members of the HOA Board stated that Commissioner Stuart had offered to “waive” city permitting fees for the event in exchange for using his photo and name at the event. Several members were unaware of the conditional nature of the offer, according to Azam.
Stuart countered Friday that he did no such thing, but did donate funds from his city discretionary account to sponsor the event.
“I don’t blame the HOA for accepting a fee reduction or waiver,” Azam said. “But I don’t think the HOA should be asked to serve as a marketing arm of Stuart’s campaign in exchange for assistance.”
She said the public records request will search for facts about how taxpayer money was spent.
This is the 37-year-old mother of two and real estate attorney’s first run for public office. Stuart is running for his fourth term representing District 3, which includes Baldwin Park, College Park and Audubon Park.