Article Courtesy of Florida
By Drew Wilson
Published October 22, 2018
After a trio of violations, the Bermuda High West Beach & Tennis Club handed
Delray Beach Republican Mike Caruso and his wife, Tracey, a six-month suspension
from the high-class coterie.
The Bermuda High Beach and Tennis Club operates and maintains the beach club and
tennis facilities for those who are members of Bermuda High West condominium
Association, Inc. And the adjacent ocean crest property members.
When serving up that drop shot to the HD 89 candidate and his wife, club
president William Green said that Caruso’s “blatant disregard for the rules and
the lack of respect given to your fellow members in unacceptable.”
According to violation letters sent out by the club, the fount of friction
between the club and the candidate stems from Caruso’s use of the property as an
ad-hoc campaign headquarters.
As one of the letters, dated April 2018, puts it, Caruso and his “guests and
campaign associates completely occupied the Club … the Club was congested with
filming equipment which hindered the use for other members.”
Further down the letter, Green says “members were inconvenienced while enjoying
the outside patio, and asked to ‘shhhh’, and finally asked to leave so filming
could continue. The blatant disregard for the rules and the lack of respect
given to your fellow members in unacceptable.”
That contravention came just a few months after the club swinged the South
Florida pol for failing to ask of permission and pay the necessary deposit to
host a party of more than 10 people on the premises.
A spokesman for Caruso said the campaign had no comment on the matter.
While the tennis club calamity seems to hold little importance on its face,
Caruso’s campaign finance reports list about $9,300 worth of expenditures for
photography and video production services around the same time he was cited for
crowding out fellow members with camera equipment.
While guerrilla filmmaking is of questionable legality among the nonconformist
crowd, and squatting is nothing uncommon among crustier Floridians, those
practices crack open a whole ‘nother can of worms when done by a political
Campaigns must pay fair market value for the use of the location for his
campaign video and photo shoot. Additionally, the membership appears to be in
the name of Caruso’s wife. If the club provided her some latitude in the
beginning of Caruso’s campaign, that’d have to be marked down as an “in-kind”
Caruso is up against Ocean Ridge Mayor Jim Bonfiglio in the race for HD 89, the
seat currently held by term-limited Republican Rep. Bill Hager.
The district covers coastal portions of Palm Beach County and is one of the few
dots of red within the strongly Democratic county.
HD 89 was one of only six districts in the entire state to flip from voting for
Mitt Romney in 2012 to supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an
analysis by MCI Maps and in 2018 the race between Bonfiglio and Caruso is
considered to be a potential flip.
Election Day is Nov. 6.