Weinstein Campaign Paid Candidate’s Son to Create Music Video
The much talked-about Mike Weinstein music video that's been circulating heavily over the last couple of days was produced by a company called AYKA Productions LLC and stars a performer who goes by the name Scott Leigh.
The Jacksonville Observer has learned that Scott Leigh is the performing name of Scott Weinstein, the State Representative's son.
A search of the state's database shows the name of AKYA Production LLC's owner is also Scott Weinstein.
Earlier this year the Florida Times-Union was critical of State Representative "Doc" Renuart for hiring his daughter to act as a fundraiser and campaign staffer. But in that case, Renuart had only paid his daughter around $2,500 and told the newspaper that his daughter was working for a flat 10% commission on the fundraising that she was doing for that campaign.
Campaign finance reports show that AKYA Productions was paid $6,000 between July of 2009 and January of 2010 by the Weinstein campaign. That represents the campaign's largest single expenditure of re-election funds through March 31. As of that day, the campaign had raised a total of about $55,000 and spent a little over $22,000 of that.
Data for the second quarter of 2010 won't be available until later this month.
Additionally, the Weinstein campaign reported writing checks to AKYA Productions that totaled $13,401.63 during his 2008 race. That year Weinstein was seeking an open seat and handily defeated Democrat Larry Jones.
When reached for comment, Weinstein defended the expenses as appropriate.
"If a family member is in the business of the service that you need, I'm not sure how you don't use them to tell you the truth," said Weinstein. "You have to look at each expenditure, especially if they're in the business. As long as they're doing what they can and they're able to do -- I don't see what the problem is."
For the campaign video, Weinstein noted that his son had "written the song, produced, choreographed and recorded the entire video."
Additionally, Weinstein says that his son helped the 2010 campaign in other ways: "He produced radio commercials, worked on the website, and helped with our [ultimately unsuccessful] petition drive."
What is notable is that the vast majority of expenses in the 2008 campaign, $13,201.63 to be exact, were given the label "signage" rather than a more generic label like "consulting" on reports filed with the state.
The Weinstein campaign had, earlier in 2008, paid over $7,000 to Campaign Graphics, an Ocala-based print shop that has printed signs for many local candidates. Weinstein tells us that his son was in fact in charge of ordering, positioning and actually placing all of the campaign's large and small signs throughout the district in 2008.
Furthermore, Weinstein told us that much of the money was for other campaign expenses and only passed-through his son's company.
"A lot of the dollars are pass-throughs, like when we bought radio time -- he bought the time and I had to pay him for it," said Weinstein. "When we had venues for events it was a pass-through to the event location. So a lot of the money, last time and this time, were pass-throughs because he was doing the events."
When no one qualified to run against him in June, Representative Weinstein was effectively re-elected to a second term.
Under the name Scott Leigh, the younger Weinstein is a dancer, model and singer who has performed in many schools on his "Positive Influence Tour" through a non-profit he created called Education Through Entertainment. Leigh maintains an active MySpace profile where fans can keep up with his career, listen to some of his music and view photos.