Florida Keys

One day in, and there is already a problem in the Key West mayoral race

Mark Rossi speaks to a crowd at an election event April 23, 2018, in Key West.
Mark Rossi speaks to a crowd at an election event April 23, 2018, in Key West. FLKEYSNEWS.COM

A judge will decide whether a would-be Key West mayoral candidate can run in the Aug. 28 election.

Mark Rossi, the former city commissioner who owns a block filled with bars on Duval Street, failed to qualify Friday when he didn't pay the required-by-law $225 fee by 12 p.m. Friday.

But election officials say it may not be Rossi’s fault since they mistakenly had put “qualified” next to his name on their website.

Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin said Friday evening she would file a lawsuit Monday to determine whether Rossi can run in the election with eight other candidates.

“We did not realize our mistake until this afternoon and promptly notified Mr. Rossi’s campaign,” Griffin said Friday in a statement. “Mr. Rossi’s campaign promptly paid the fee.”

Griffin said “it would be unfair to deny the citizens of Key West the opportunity to vote for an otherwise qualified candidate due to an error by my office.”

Griffin said she plans to put Rossi’s name on the ballot when they go to print this week.

Rossi didn't return a call for comment.

Rossi’s campaign treasurer was told June 7 that the $225 fee was due by noon Friday, Griffin said. She added she would file the suit so that none of the seven candidates who qualified in time has to.

The county attorney’s office will represent the supervisor of elections in the suit.

Candidates who qualified Friday were Sloan Bashinsky, Randy Becker, George Bellenger, Bill Foley, Teri Johnston, Carie Noda and Margaret Romero.