March 2022 “Cha-Ching”


No other word for it.  Even without opponents on the horizon, Commissioners Hamman and Pendergrass together have amassed a total of $400,000+ for their reelection campaigns.  We wonder:  how are they going to spend all this money?  And why continue asking for and accepting money from businesses and citizens in Lee County?  

As usual, special interests make up the bulk of donations received.  For Pendergrass, donations from developers and developer-related entities constitute 65.3% of total contributions since April, 2021.  For Hamman, that number is a lower 46.4%, but since he only announced for reelection in November there are plenty of other developers still to be approached. 

For the past year, Women For a Better Lee has been examining and reporting on the campaign finance filings of these two candidates with the Supervisor of Elections (  Mandated by law, these reports are public information and detail names, addresses, occupation, and donation amount.  Florida law sets the maximum donation per individual donor at $1000, yet many donors contribute in a variety of ways:  as an individual, as a business entity, and, sometimes, having a relative give as well.

In many cases, $1000 donations are made by different businesses owned by the same individual. Consequently, contributions from a donor can total as much as $9000, as we have found in the case of the Pendergrass campaign.  There are a number of multi-donors, including the Cameratta Companies and its principals, as well as Cameratta family members; Dr. Jonathan Frantz, as an individual and through businesses he owns alone and with partner Dr. Alexander Eaton; and Suncoast Beverage Sales and its owners, the Mitchell family.  Troyer Brothers, the company which successfully pressed to change its property from agricultural use to mining, has contributed to both candidates as individuals, as Troyer Brothers FL and as Troyer Brothers, Union City, PA.  We should note that this practice of maximum donations from a variety of related entities is perfectly legal.    

As a watchdog citizens’ group, Women For a Better Lee also examines the BoCC’s agendas, actions and decisions, as well as the commissioners’ lobbying logs filed quarterly with the County Clerk’s office (; [click on “Records”]).

At the April 19 BoCC meeting, we watched as the commissioners approved a Consent Agenda (where a number of items are bundled and voted on without any discussion unless a commissioner requests discussion of a specific matter).  The Consent Agenda consisted of 39 items and authorized total spending of almost $11 million.  Included in the 39 items was approval of a resolution to proceed with the purchase or taking through eminent domain of parcels of land owned by Daniels Parkway JV Development LLC, whose principals are Drs. Jonathan Frantz and Alexander Eaton.  The land is needed to complete acquisition of the right-of-way for the planned Three Oaks Parkway North Project; no purchase price was stipulated.  Also included in this Consent Agenda was a design contract of $136,500 to Barraco and Associates for improvements to Rutenberg Park and $607,730 to Johnson Engineering for design changes to an Alico Road construction contract.  The above entities are all donors to the commissioners’ reelection campaigns.

A Consent Agenda with 39 items (none of which were discussed) that authorizes $11 million in spending is just the opposite of transparency.  Taking time to discuss an issue in a public forum would provide citizens greater insight and understanding of commissioners’ thinking.  Since these Commission meetings usually last 60 – 90 minutes (to set policy for a county of roughly 800,000), the additional time to help residents understand would not be burdensome to our part-time commissioners. AMAZING, indeed.

In terms of campaign financing, the following tells the story:

We watch — because you can’t.

Women For a Better Lee is a nonpartisan, all-volunteer political action committee working to bring accountability and transparency to our Lee County Commission and government.

WFBLPAC is not authorized by any candidate or any candidate’s committee and donations are not tax deductible.  Donations can be mailed to WFBLPAC, 14320 Harbour Links Ct., Unit C, Fort Myers, FL 33908 or made via (our PayPal account is

To contact us: or  WFBL’s new website,, is now up and running.  (Almost) everything you wanted to know — and more!  Please check it out and share with others.  And add us to your address book so you will be sure to get all our emails.  Sign up for our watchdog team and become part of the solution!