(UPDATE: On September 19, Michael Ciftci said he "misspoke" regarding the remarks that led to Chris Ingram filing a lawsuit. Read below for Ciftci's official statement).
In a post published earlier Tuesday on CL's News & Politics site, CL contributor and Republican political consultant Chris Ingram took a shot at Michael Ciftci, a fellow R who is running in the District 3 Tampa City Council seat this March.
In his post, a potpourri of his musings on a variety of subjects, Ingram wrote of his endorsement of another Republican, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Chris Hart in the District 3 race. And he wrote this about this Ciftci:
In what should come as a surprise to no one, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist has endorsed Tampa City Council District 3 candidate Michael Ciftci.
Now I know most of you are sitting there reading this asking, “Michael who?”
Ciftci is a twenty-something political-wannabe who has a far bigger ego than he does a resume of accomplishment. Ciftci’s biggest claim to fame is he was local developer Don Phillips’ do-boy for a while. He now runs some sort of environmental business that promotes “green” stuff. Publicly he is most well known for being closely connected with Bobby Thompson and his imaginary Navy Veterans Association.
If Ciftci had half as much experience as he does yearning to “be somebody” he’d make a fine candidate for dog catcher. But alas, his resume is as thin as the matches he uses to light up his Marlboros.
Late Tuesday, Ciftci responded, saying:
"I am truly baffled by Chris Ingraham's bizarre rant. He seemed to agree with our positive vision for Tampa when he pitched me his political consulting services. I told him we were going in a different direction, which I assume elicited this troubling outburst. Mr. Ingraham's shakedown tactics didn't work with the Marco Rubio campaign and they won't work with me."
Ciftci's reference to Marco Rubio alludes to a spokesman for the now freshman U.S. Senator saying roughly the same thing about Ingram after the political consultant wrote about Rubio telling him that he had spent thousands of dollars on his Republican Party of Florida credit card on renovating his kitchen floors.
When asked for a comment, Ingram told CL that "I would call on Mr. Ciftci to provide one ounce of evidence that I ever "pitched" him. He going down the Rubio path of let's kill the messenger."
When asked for his comment, Ciftci responded, "I stand by my remarks."
(UPDATE): This is what Ciftci released on September 19:
“During the heat of my campaign for Tampa City Council earlier this year, I misspoke when I made a statement about Chris Ingram. To be clear, Mr. Ingram never “pitched” or proposed working for me or on behalf of my campaign in any shape or form, and he never engaged in any type of “shakedown” or other illegal or unethical behavior. I wholeheartedly apologize for any misinterpretation of my statements, and I regret any damage my actions may have had on Mr. Ingram and his professional reputation. We have settled the matter and have decided to move forward.”