FORT LAUDERDALE — A grievance committee of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida has concluded that Corey L. Alston, president of the organization’s Broward County chapter, violated party rules by showing up at Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign headquarters in the days following Scott’s election as governor.
Alston, who is the city manager for South Bay in Palm Beach County, says he has done nothing improper.
He said he did go to Scott’s campaign headquarters in Hollywood following the concession by Scott’s Democratic opponent Alex Sink in the days following the November elections. But he said he was there only as an official of a municipality that requires state resources, not as a supporter.
“I was there as the manager of a city in need and trying to build relationships for state resources,” Alston told the South Florida Times. “It was after they had already won the election, and not before, or during the campaign. I did nothing wrong.”
“I did not support or endorse Rick Scott. I disagree with many of his positions and policies,” Alston said. “While I am a loyal Democrat, I am also a proud African American who was, and remains encouraged to see the first African American woman elected lieutenant governor.”
This is the second senior member of the Black Caucus who has become a target for removal from office in recent weeks.
Last week, the Black Caucus Grievance Committee recommended that the vice president, Ruth Lynch, be removed and barred from holding any position in the organization. That ruling was handed down over allegations that Lynch deposited donations intended for the organization into her personal bank account and for failing to provide an accounting of those funds.
Lynch has not responded to questions about the allegations.
Percy Johnson, former treasurer of the caucus’ Broward chapter, filed the grievance against Alston. Johnson is also the immediate past treasurer of the Broward County Democratic Party’s Council of Club Presidents. He was ill and unable to comment on the grievance when contacted by the South Florida Times this week.
Alston has a long history of involvement in the Democratic Party and was recently elected vice president of the party’s Council of Club Presidents.
The grievance committee has also recommended that he be barred from holding office in the caucus for four years.
Alan Brown, a Democratic Party committeeman and immediate past president of the local caucus, has filed a similar complaint against Alston with the Broward County Democratic Executive Committee. A hearing on the matter was held recently but that panel has not rendered its decision, DEC Chairman Mitch Ceasar said.
Alston is accusing Johnson of filing the grievance because of his political aspirations. He said the complaint was filed after Johnson announced he would challenge him for the presidency of the caucus.
Alston said he has been in contact with Dr. Bruce Miles, president of the statewide Black Caucus. Miles, he said, “has already informed me that the complaint does not have any merit and he will recommend that the entire thing is thrown out.”
Miles and the other members of the executive committee have final say on the grievance panel’s recommendations. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
Alston maintains his loyalty to the Democratic Party, but adds that even though Jennifer Carroll is a Republican, he is proud of the fact that she has become the first black lieutenant-governor of Florida.
“I’m confident this will all be dismissed for what it is: a waste of everybody’s time,” he said.
Photo: Corey L. Alston