The war of words between local veteran political journalist Michael Putney and Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson continued Sunday on WPLG-TV’s This Week in South Florida.
Program host Putney took time at the end of the show to respond to a full-page attack ad bought by Relentless for Progress (RFP), the new PAC that’s become the talk of political circles in Miami Beach and around the county for raising more than $1 million in a few months.
The ad, which ran three times in the Miami Herald, was a lengthy letter signed by Wolfson, who is the PAC chairman. In the letter, he blasted Putney for writing a Herald op-ed column criticizing the PAC, Wolfson and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who donated $5,000 to the political group.
In early August, Putney and Levine debated the PAC’s fundraising on This Week in South Florida. The program is co-hosted by WPLG journalist Glenna Milberg.
In the Herald op-ed, Putney accused Wolfson of wanting to rescind a $15 million city grant given to Mount Sinai Medical Center because the hospital would not donate to RFP. In the full-page ad, Wolfson denied this and took aim at Putney for not disclosing that Milberg is married to Michael Milberg, executive director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Foundation.
Here’s the video from Sunday morning’s This Week in South Florida, where Putney responds to Wolfson. Putney’s comments begin near the end of the program, at 40:20.
“He also says I’ve hurt his fundraising efforts,” Putney said. “I certainly hope I did.”
On Monday, Wolfson said it’s true he did not accept an invitation to go on This Week in South Florida, but he offered to talk to Putney on an independent station.
“He said I basically refused to go on his program,” Wolfson said. “He’s been on a rampage to assassinate my character, so why would I do that?”
Wolfson said he wouldn’t have a problem if Putney or any of RFP’s critics talked about campaign finance in general and looking at all political committees.
“He’s unfairly singling out the PAC,” Wolfson said.