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Sheriff's Candidate Thrown Out of Largo City Meeting

Three candidates for office spoke during public comment, with Pinellas County Sheriff hopeful Greg Pound being escorted by police out of the commission chambers for "attacking" political opponents.

A few candidates for local, state and county offices spoke during the public forum of the last scheduled Largo City Commission meeting before the Nov. 6 elections — and one of them ended up getting thrown out.

Greg Pound, who is running for Pinellas County Sheriff, was escorted out of the room by a Largo Police officer.

Vice Mayor Harriet Crozier tried to keep the speakers' comments focused on Largo. Pound tried a few times to speak about John the Baptist and his preaching to people to repent or perish.

"Please make your comment about Largo, or I will have to ask you to leave," Crozier said.

Pound then did change the subject to Largo being in Pinellas County.

"Pinellas County is out of control, you have got corruption running rampant out of control," he said.

Pound then went on to share concerns about Sheriff Bob Gualiteri's discipline actions related to one of his deputies, as reported by WTSP 10 News. He also questioned a supposed $165,000 campaign contribution made to fellow sheriff's candidate Scott Swope's campaign.

Patch did not find such a contribution listed on the Swope campaign's financial disclosure statements, but did find a liability for $165,000 to a Karen Martin Trust.

At that point, Crozier asked Pound to leave, with a police officer walking with him out of the room.

"I’m sorry, I said no political (discussion). I know this is campaign (time)," Crozier said.

Pound asked why he was being asked to leave.

"Because you are attacking people running for office," Crozier said. "I apologize to everyone we do not want campaigning going on this is city business."

Patch contacted Swope, who said the $165,000 liability is the mortgage to Swope's home. Karen Martin was a client of Swopes' legal practice and a friend who was willing to loan him the money, he said.

Swope said he does know Paul Martin, and that they worked together at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in the 1980s and ’90s. Martin is a sheriff's deputy who was involved in an Internal Affairs investigation, as reported by WTSP this summer.

A few other candidates also spoke at Tuesday's meeting, mostly without incident.

City Commission candidate Robert Hunsicker discussed what he has been hearing from Largo businesses on the campaign trail. Crozier asked Hunsicker to focus on city business and not campaigning.

Hunsicker shared a story about a business "not having a warm and fuzzy feeling" toward the city and his view that the city can do better.

Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala, who is running for re-election in District 20, praised improvements in Largo and said he looks forward to working with the city.

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