There is a simply absurd level of misinformation propagated by Amy’s opponents, largely printed by Mark Puente, in the Tampa Bay Times. Read more about Puente’s “hit pieces” here. The goal of these hit pieces is likely to undermine Amy’s credibility as a candidate and allow a big newspaper to put its thumb on the scales of democracy. This is not the first candidate the Tampa Bay Times has attempted to defame. It was successfully sued for similar coverage of a Democratic candidate.
Read more about these Myths below:
Myth: Amy says she has had a consulting company for over five years but it has only been registered for one.
Truth: Amy worked under the DBA, Mighty Oak Consulting, for about five years as she worked as a department head and college professor. Because she worked full-time as an academic, her consulting work was often limited and, at times, pro bono. Amy stopped working for two years as a professor because she underwent aggressive treatment for stage-three cancer. Once she was able to work again she began building out her consulting practice, in earnest, for the first time so that she could work while exploring other academic and leadership job options. She built a website and changed the name to Mighty Oak Collaborative, because the name web url for Mighty Oak Consulting was already taken. Reporters simply did not do proper research before making this false claim.
Myth: Amy doesn’t have a job.
Truth: Until March of 2018, Amy had undergone two years of often debilitating treatment for an aggressive kind of cancer. As she underwent cancer treatment, she paid off all of her own medical expenses and still lived off of well over $100,000 of her own savings.
As soon as she was able to physically work again in March, Amy began working as a consultant and she spent half of her work week preparing to run for office two months later. She was negotiating contracts with three separate consulting clients during this time. Many candidates curtail their work or do not work at all as they run for office full-time. Just because her cancer treatment ended in March does not mean she has recovered from it. Amy is still rebuilding her immune system and has yet to recover over thirty pounds of body mass she lost during chemo. Due to the demands of running for office and out of concern that exerting too much energy could damage her health, Amy scaled back her consulting work to one contract while campaigning full-time.
Not every person dealing with life-threatening health challenges can work or work full-time. This claim shows a disregard for people with temporary and permanent disabilities.
Myth: Amy didn’t take the bar exam in order to practice as an attorney.
Truth: Who says Amy ever wanted to be an attorney? Eighty percent of people who attend law school do not work in private legal practice. Amy went to graduate school to teach and do policy work, as she has successfully done. Amy earned both a Law Degree and a PhD (at the same time) to become a college professor and it is not necessary to pass the bar exam in order to teach, it is only necessary to take the bar exam to practice as an attorney.
To be a college professor it is necessary to publish articles and books and Amy has written and published several academic articles including a 250-page PhD dissertation as well as a law review article. Normally academics only have either a law degree or a PhD. Amy has both and has published in two different areas. Only a fraction of a percentage of people in the world have the academic credentials she has.
Myth: Amy was accused of taking $6,000 in campaign funds for her own personal expenses.
Truth: This is yet another made-up and malicious accusation made by Mark Puente with absolutely no supporting evidence. Amy has taught Business Law and Ethics, Organizational Ethics and leadership as a professor. She taught on behalf of the Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement at USF St. Pete. She works to hold herself to high ethical standards and would never undermine the public trust by engaging in self-dealing.
Myth: Amy engaged in Stalking and Domestic Violence at the beginning of her campaign.
Truth: Amy has not done this and there is not one shred of evidence to back up any of these claims. Partly because there is absolutely no evidence, two Judges dismissed these claims.
But let’s think about it: why would anyone planning to run for public office engage in any kind of reckless conduct? It would be political self-sabotage. The truth is Amy attempted to Baker Act a loved one in crisis at the start of her campaign and it backfired. This person falsified claims against her to keep her from protecting herself or him. These false claims also allowed him to avoid confronting a serious personal condition.
Amy’s political opponent is known as an advocate for mental health and substance abuse. While claiming that she is a “mental health expert” (she is not) this opponent has spread rumors about Amy related to these hit pieces and this opponent has sent copies of these hit pieces to voters in an attempt to influence their vote. In doing so this opponent has shamelessly chosen to exploit some of the very issues for which she claims to be an advocate.
Given this history of reckless reporting, Amy now has a policy of not doing in-person or telephone interviews with The Times. She only takes questions in writing and she publishes her answers on this site before the Times publishes them to ensure that they write responsibly.
I posted my most recent interview with Mark Puente to my blog on 10/11/18, the day I e-mailed my interview answers to Mark Puente. I did this to ensure transparency. On 10/14/18 Kathleen Peters announced on television that she was suspending her campaign to assist with Hurricane Michael relief. Only after Kathleen’s announcement did Mark Puente run parts of this interview on 10/15/18. Read it here. Read about new evidence that confirms that Kathleen Peters knew and understood the malicious intent of my campaign coverage by the Tampa Bay Times here. The Tampa Bay Times is the only major newspaper in our region and it holds itself out as the recipient of 12 Pulitzer Prizes. It has tremendous influence over political races in this area and has recently been sued for defamatory coverage of Democratic candidate Jeff Greene for $500 Million. They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Read other examples of this tabloid-style political coverage of other Democratic political leaders by Mark Puente here.