Candidate Returns Contributions From Trump Fundraiser Attendee

TAMPA, FL -- A $500-a-plate fundraiser hosted by Donald Trump at the New York billionaire's West Palm Beach estate earlier this month turned up a couple of potential contributors that have created some embarrassment for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist's campaign, Herald Today reported referring to AP.

Billionaire Donald Trump (L) and fugitive Volodomyr Shcherban (R)

One came from a former Ukrainian government official once charged with corruption in his home country who was in the U.S. illegally, and another from a businessman being investigated on complaints of deceptive advertising by the attorney general's office headed by Crist.

A campaign spokeswoman told The Tampa Tribune that neither man, Volodomyr Shcherban of Ukraine or Cape Coral businessman Russell Whitney, made contributions at the fundraiser.

However, two of Whitney's companies previously had made $500 contributions, the maximum allowed. The newspaper was then told by the campaign that those contributions would be returned.

A donation was required for admission, Crist campaign spokeswoman Vivian Myrtetus said, but one donor could have brought a guest by giving both a personal contribution and from a company. Florida law allows corporate political contributions.

Reports of donations at the Trump fundraiser won't be available until April, but Myrtetus said the campaign didn't find any from Whitney or Shcherban.

Myrtetus said Crist does not know Shcherban and had his photograph taken with hundreds of attendees at the event and that Crist had met Whitney at an earlier fundraiser.

Shcherban, who formerly held a position in Ukraine equivalent of that of a state governor, came to the United States last April after being charged with abuses of his office.

In October, he was arrested in Orlando and charged with immigration violations for overstaying his visa, according to Pam McCullough, spokeswoman for the Tampa office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

On Jan. 20, she said, Shcherban posted bail of $2 million in cash.

McCullough said there no longer are charges pending against Shcherban in his home country because of a new law passed there prohibiting criminal charges against government officials.

Some 400 guests, at $500 a head, attended the Feb. 3 fundraiser for Crist at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate.

Crist is opposed by Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in the Republic primary for governor while state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa are the Democratic contestants.

Source: ForUm