Commissioner candidate George Touart has a problem….a huge problem. He is running his campaign on a theme of being the most ethical person to ever be county administrator. He proclaims his innocence of all ethics complaints against him.
Then one of his most vocal supporters on pnj.com is arrested for burglary of an occupied dwelling…the home of the opponent that Touart considers the biggest threat in splitting the vote against incumbent Gene Valentino.
Once again, a “cloud” surrounds Touart as it did in Jackson County, Miss. and here – with hunting trips, Roads, Inc, condo deals and catfish ponds. There is always something in the gray area hanging around the man.
The PNJ got an interview with the suspected burglar. Clabaugh makes a few things very clear.
George Touart knew he was going to the house with a camera. They had breakfast together that Wednesday morning—Clabaugh was later at the Sindel home around 9:15 a.m. Clabaugh told PNJ reporter Jamie Page: “”We spoke about taking some pictures of the house.”
In the Saturday edition of the PNJ, Touart was quoted saying that he encouraged him not to go. However, the former county administrator, who lives in the east Pensacola subdivision Inverness (which is not in the district), made no such statement when I called him on Thursday after the arrest had been made.
What I love is how Clabaugh described his encounter with Karen Sindel, Touart’s opponent, at her home:
“”As I was taking photos, Mrs. Sindel noticed me. Mrs. Sindel then came outside and greeted me. I talked with Mrs. Sindel, and she was very nice and gracious to me under the circumstances.”
….Please remember a candidate is not required to live in the commission district until the day of the election. Touart and Sindel can live wherever they like until the election day. They don’t have to own the residence either.
….Bubba-gate was done for some stupid political slam piece that would have been used later against Sindel. No ethical candidate would have allowed a supporter – with whom he had breakfast that very morning – trespass and possibly break into home of an opponent.