In a new TV commercial released Monday, Democratic challenger Ryan Yadav has brought up a 2012 conflict of interest allegation against state Rep. Bob Cortes and a matter involving tow truck fees.
Cortes, the Longwood Republican, owns a towing company. Prior to his election to the Florida House of Representatives, while Cortes was on the Longwood City Commission, he pushed for tow truck fee increases in Seminole County, according to news reports cited and highlighted in Yadav’s first TV commercial, playing in the Orlando market.
The 30-second commercial, “Conflict of Interest,” shows a portion of the Seminole County Board of Commissioners Commission staff report from Nov. 2012 that reads, “The local wrecker operators have approached the County through Bob Cortes, Area Chairman, Region 6, Professional Wreckers Operators of Florida and owner of Cortes Towing Services. The local operators have requested an increase in trespass and non-consensual tow rates…”
“It helped him, not you,” a narrator states, before the commercial turns to video of Orlando TV station WFTV Channel 9 reporting on the matter in 2012.
“Cortes wants to represent you in Tallahassee. But who will he really help?” the narrator concludes. “Vote Ryan Yadav for state representative. Trusted. Honest. Committed to working for you.”
Cortes called it a recycle of old stuff, material that had come up in previous election campaigns that he dismissed as misleading. The Seminole County wrecker operator ordinance was aimed at equalizing rates between Orange and Seminole counties and other jurisdictions so that people would not being paying different rates if vehicles were towed across jurisdictional boundaries, he said. He had no conflict with Seminole County Board of Commissioners because he was a Longwood commissioner, he said. He also said he recused himself from any tow truck matters in Longwood.