Past, present county GOP chairs trade blame for party’s financial woesby George Bennett | June 11th, 2013
Sabin plans to slice the county GOP’s budget from $310,000 to $172,667, according to figures he gave Republican Executive Committee members in advance of Wednesday night’s party meeting.
Sabin laid off executive director Cathy Brandenburg and longtime political director Mark Hoch last week in hopes of saving about $50,000 over the remainder of 2013. Shutting down the office on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard after Aug. 31 should save more than $16,000 in rent and office supplies, Sabin estimates.
Sabin has also cancelled the party’s planned Lobsterfest, a golf tournament and a “bring your own guns” shooting event — saving more than $30,000 in expenses, but also forgoing whatever revenues those events would have brought in.
Sabin was elected in December after former chairman Sid Dinerstein opted not to seek a sixth two-year term.
Dinerstein put more than $220,000 of his own money into the party between 2008 and 2012. When he left office, the party had only $1,600 in its bank account, Sabin said, while owing Dinerstein $10,000 for money he loaned the party to pay for January’s Lincoln Day dinner at Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago.
“The fact is, he left the party in debt,” Sabin said.
With Dinerstein’s ability to write personal checks, Sabin said, the party relied too much on Dinerstein a few big donors and failed to cultivate a broad base of donors over the years.
“We really had no fundraising,” Sabin said.
Dinerstein offered a different analysis.
“I left the party in great financial condition…At the end of an election, there’s never money in the bank. That’s the purpose of raising the money,” Dinerstein said.
As for the party’s past reliance on Dinerstein’s contributions, Dinerstein said: “Is it an advantage to have a rich guy who can give money? Sure. But if you can’t raise money, don’t run for the job.”
So far this year, the party’s fundraising has fallen short of goals. The Lincoln Day dinner netted $117,667 rather than the $150,000 expected, according to figures Sabin gave REC members.
And the county GOP’s direct-mail fundraising is expected to bring in only $15,000 this year rather than the $50,000 that had been anticipated, Sabin said.
Sabin said he plans to bring in a fundraising chair to spearhead money-raising efforts. He said he has a specific person lined up for the position, but won’t announce who it is until Wednesday.