It’s official – mayor Bujalski lied about attorney approval in the MarinaGate scandal

Last August, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Dunedin mayor Julie Bujalski and her husband Tom “fell months behind in payments for their boat slip at the city-owned marina.” As Dunedin Reporter (DR) reported at the time, the Bujalskis had become delinquent in their payments immediately upon obtaining the boat slip in October of 2012. This was well before the “personal circumstance” arose which mayor Bujalski cited as the reason for the payment delinquencies. Bujalski defended herself last August by saying in an e-mail that her husband had set up a payment plan with the city. She further claimed that this payment plan had been “fully vetted by … Continue reading It’s official – mayor Bujalski lied about attorney approval in the MarinaGate scandal

Spring training attendance in Dunedin is down – why?

Through 5 home games of a 15 home game spring training season, attendance at Toronto Blue Jays’s games has averaged 4,384 people per game. Attendance is well below last year’s attendance for the first 5 games, and MLB.Com shows hundreds of tickets available for most of the remaining homes games. Dunedin Reporter will publish the Blue Jays season average attendance at a later date, an average which may still exceed most of the recent spring training seasons. The three first homes games of 2017 each had an attendance below 4,000 per game, well below the 4,389 who saw last year’s lowest attended game. There … Continue reading Spring training attendance in Dunedin is down – why?

The Dunedin robocall brawl – a sign of the declining Times

Allegedly “mysterious” robocalls criticizing the mayor were made this week in Dunedin, according to a Tampa Bay Times article today. However, a disclaimer at the end of the calls identified the source of the call as Main Street Leadership Council (MSLC), a Tallahassee political committee. As the baseball World Series plays out, a different “Fall Classic” is playing out in baseball-centric Dunedin. Far from Wrigley Field in Chicago or Progressive Field in Cleveland, there’s nothing “progressive” about this ugly political fight which saw some brushback pitches today. The Times article today, mayor Julie Bujalski accused her opponent Bruce Livingston of being behind the calls, saying that “it is a shame … Continue reading The Dunedin robocall brawl – a sign of the declining Times

Dunedin Chamber stonewalls, transparency lacking

Update: two days after this article was published, the chamber contacted us about providing all documents we requested. Two days after they did, the documents were provided. We will write a follow-up article, post all documents they provided and give the chamber a chance to comment. And now for the original article! In multiple filings with the IRS, the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce has said that its governance documents are something it “makes available to the public upon request”. Despite this promise, and having had three weeks to provide the documents, the chamber failed to provide these documents to a reporter from DunedinReporter.Com (DR). Giving the … Continue reading Dunedin Chamber stonewalls, transparency lacking

The economic impact of the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin – an analysis of the claims made

In arguing for the recently unveiled “Toronto Blue Jays project“, Dunedin city staff and city commissioners have pointed to the 2016 economic impact analysis (EIA) as support for spending $65 million of public funds on this project. However, the company selected to perform the EIA was not chosen based on a history of accuracy – it was chosen for strategic reasons aimed at securing state and county funding. Professor Roger D. Blair, Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Florida, flatly told DunedinReporter.Com (DR) that “no serious studies show that municipal spending on pro sport stadiums pays off.” Blair said that decision makers “often have … Continue reading The economic impact of the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin – an analysis of the claims made

Spending tax dollars on the Blue Jays “comes first”, even before public safety projects

On September 26th, citizens had a chance to hear for the first time what the lengthy negotiations between the City of Dunedin and the Toronto Blue Jays have produced. The public meeting, along with all materials presented, can be seen here. No deal has been finalized between the city and the team, and any deal still has to be funded by the county and the state. The Blue Jays are currently obligated to the city until the end of 2017, and the current proposal would bind them for another 25 years from the date the project is completed. The Blue Jays project is being … Continue reading Spending tax dollars on the Blue Jays “comes first”, even before public safety projects

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce: its cozy relationship with government and its odd finances

During a four-year period ending September 30, 2015, the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce received $74,500 in government grants from the city and the county. The chamber’s cash balance rose by about the same amount ($70,000) during that same time period. The chamber is a private corporation, not a government agency, yet it receives money from the city without a contract specifying what the money is to be used for. In this investigative article, we will focus on four topics: Public funds provided by the City of Dunedin to the chamber Public funds provided by Pinellas County to the chamber The chamber’s high cash balance and apparent accounting irregularities The close relationship between chambers … Continue reading The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce: its cozy relationship with government and its odd finances

Political pageantry at a Dunedin candidate forum

The Downtown Dunedin Merchants Association (DDMA) hosted a city commission candidate forum at the Bon Appétit restaurant on Wednesday evening. All six candidates attended. The candidates present were: mayor Julie Bujalski and her opponent commissioner Bruce Livingston vying for mayor, also Moe Freaney and Mike Jones vying for seat 1, and Heather Gracy  (incumbent) and Reuben Hepburn vying for seat 3. Click on their names to see their respective campaign websites. Audio of most of the candidate forum (67 minutes worth) is available here on Youtube. Superficially, it may appear that the candidates spoke to issues, but none of them mentioned sewers or the recent sewer overflows, … Continue reading Political pageantry at a Dunedin candidate forum

Dunedin mayor received interest-free loan from city, clams up when questioned

As first reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Dunedin mayor Julie Bujalski and her husband Tom were chronically delinquent in paying for their boat slip at the Dunedin city marina. They received lenient treatment by the City of Dunedin, treatment which no other boat slip renter received. Turns out that there’s more to the story. Through a public records request, the Guardian found that the mayor’s husband, Tom Bujalski, signed a “6-month amortization” document on July 19, 2016. According to Investopedia, “amortization is the paying off of debt with a fixed repayment schedule.” Even though a debt was owed, no interest was specified in the amortization … Continue reading Dunedin mayor received interest-free loan from city, clams up when questioned