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The Villages
Thursday, April 18, 2024

Landscaper ‘loyal’ to Developer to challenge Sumter Commission chair

Craig Estep
Craig Estep
Todd Coon
Todd Coon

A landscaper who has publicly pledged his loyalty to the Developer of The Villages has filed paperwork indicating he will challenge Sumter County Commission Chairman Craig Estep.

Todd Coon, owner of Tri-County Landscapes, filed paperwork on Monday with the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Office indicating he will run for the District 3 seat to which Estep was elected in 2020.

Tri-County Landscapes, which has about 100 employees, has contracts with The Villages to prep yards and do landscaping work at new homes in The Villages south of State Road 44. Coon purchased the company from his father-in-law.

“The Villages means to me loyalty and family,” Coon said in a 2021 promotional video in which he described his business relationship with The Villages. “I am very loyal to them and they are very loyal to me.”

You can see the video at this link:

Four years ago, Estep defeated Villager Don Burgess, the incumbent District 3 commissioner who was heavily backed by The Developer.

Estep was inspired to run after the 2019 25 percent tax increase was passed onto Sumter County homeowners by Burgess and his fellow commissioners. It was largely seen as a sweetheart deal for the Developer.

Coon did not respond to phone and email requests from Villages-News.com for information about his candidacy.

Another Developer-backed candidate files for Sumter Commission

Mary Lazich
Mary Lazich

Coon was not the only candidate to file election paperwork on the Monday after Easter.

Mary Lazich, on the same day, filed her intention to run for the District 1 seat, currently held by Roberta Ulrich, who has given no indication that she plans to seek another term.

Filing on April 1 gives both Lazich and Coon up to two months before they are required to disclose any financial information which might shed light on the identity of the financial backers of their campaigns.

Lazich, like Coon, did not respond to phone and email requests from Villages-News.com for information about her candidacy.

She is a resident of the Village of Virginia Trace. She and her husband purchased their home in 2014.

Lazich served in the Wisconsin State Assembly and rose in the ranks to serve as president of the Senate. She was targeted for recall in 2011 and 2012 for her support of then-Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to remove public employees’ collective bargaining rights.

She announced in 2016 she would not run again for a seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly. She registered to vote in 2017 in Sumter County.

Deb Butterfield
Deb Butterfield

Lazich will face Villager Deb Butterfield.

Coon, Estep, Lazich and Butterfield are all running as Republicans in the August primary. No one has filed to run as a Democrat, thus the victors will likely be determined in August.

Commissioner Don Wiley, who is also up for election, has not yet drawn an opponent.

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