City records show Suarez raised $495,911 in his campaign account with the city by the end of June, and only spent $63,812. Suarez has several choices on what to do with the remaining $432,099: He can transfer the money into another campaign account to use in the 2014 race for his commission seat (though to do so he must send letters to contributors asking if they want their money returned on a pro-rated basis.) He can officially withdraw from the race before the Sept. 21 qualifying date by writing a letter to the clerk’s office, then either return the money to contributors, donate it to a nonprofit, or give it to the city.
Or, if he does nothing by the Sept. 21 qualifying date, he must return the money on a pro-rated basis to all contributors.
The options for what to do with the $575,756 that remains in the ECO are much simpler: The ECO can return the money to contributors, keep it in the account to advocate for whatever issues the ECO’s organizers sees fit in the future, or contribute it to other campaigns.
The list of contributors to the ECO and Suarez’s campaign account are for the most part the usual cast of characters — lobbyists, developers, consultants, contractors, and friends.
According to records of the ECO, Midtown Miami land owner Midtown Opportunities gave $50,000. Wireless communications innovator Nsoro MasTec contributed $25,000, as did local healthcare provider Simply Healthcare Plans. Uber lobbyist Ron Book helped out with $10,000, and so did local technology giant Medina Capital Partners. Magic City Casino operator West Flagler Associates tossed in $15,000.
Consultant Thomas Jelke contributed $7,500 to ECO. Jelke said he gave money because Suarez took time to sit down and discuss his positions — then asked for money.
“If there’s a possibility for him to give it back to the people who contributed, that would be a good gesture,” said Jelke. “To me, it’s all about follow-up with his supporters.”
Suarez political strategist Steve Marin was paid almost $80,000 through the ECO for his work by the end of June. He also contributed $17,500 toward Suarez’s campaign. He believes the money should be returned to contributors on a pro-rated basis.