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The Villages
Friday, July 12, 2024

Developer floods coffers of chosen candidates for Sumter Commission

Mark Morse

The Developer of The Villages and numerous associates have flooded the campaign coffers of the three chosen candidates running for Sumter County Commission.

Political newcomer Todd Coon, a landscaper who has publicly pledged his loyalty to The Villages, led the way by collecting $109,993 in political contributions, according to information filed by his campaign with the Sumter County Supervisor of Elections Office. Coon is hoping to unseat Sumter County Commission Chairman Craig Estep, a Villager who has raised $4,880, thus far.

Villager Mary Lazich, who is running for the seat currently held by Roberta Ulrich, raised $82,250. She is running against Village of Winifred resident Deb Butterfield, who has raised $7,950.

Don Wiley, who is running against Commissioner Oren Miller, raised $86,000 in the most recent reporting period. He has raised a total of $90,700, compared with $4,300 raised by Miller, a Village of Sanibel resident, who recently reclaimed his seat on the commission after a long difficult battle.

The Coon, Lazich and Wiley contribution reports are virtually carbon copies with the same well-known list of contributors:

Mark Morse personally gave each member of the trio $1,000. His wife M’Lissa Morse gave $1,000 each to Coon, Lazich and Wiley, making a total contribution of $6,000 from The Villages’ ultimate power couple.

Mark Morse’s sister, Jennifer Parr, the vice president of sales for The Villages, also gave $1,000 each to Coon, Lazich and Wiley.

The list of their employees, friends and family who also donated the gold standard of $3,000 ($1,000 for Coon, $1,000 for Lazich and $1,000 for Wiley) leaves no doubt who the Developer is hoping to see win the GOP primary in August:

Gary Lester

• The Villages Vice President for Community Relations Gary Lester. His wife, Stacy Lester, also gave $1,000 to the Wiley campaign

• Villages Charter School Director Randy McDaniel, who also serves on the Sumter Landing Community Development Board of Supervisors

• Michael Manly, husband of Mark Morse’s daughter Kelsea Morse Manly

• Brian Sellers, head of construction for The Villages

Elliot Sussman

• Elliot Sussman, chairman of The Villages Health

• Robert Chandler IV, vice president of development for The Villages and a supervisor on the Village Center Community Development District Board

• Kelly Flores, chair of the Village Center Community Development District Board. Her husband also contributed $1,000 each to Coon, Lazich and Wiley

• Marty Dzuro, vice president of The Villages

• Scott Renick, The Villages director of commercial property

• Dale Borrowman, head of The Villages Technology Solutions Group

• Phil Markward, head of The Villages Media Group

• Wildwood Commissioner Marcos Flores, who works for the T&D family of companies

In addition, companies that do business with The Villages are fueling the campaign coffers of Coon, Lazich and Wiley, including DZ concrete, T&D companies, Jacobs utilities which serves a wide swath of The Villages; Clymer, Farner Barley Inc.; the firm of golf course architect Ken Ezell, for whom the Ezell Recreation Center has been named; Ro-Mac Lumber and Supply; and Rainey Construction Co.

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