Political endorsements are common, but one Coral Gables candidate had to pull his fliers after receiving a cease and desist letter from Florida International University.
Commission candidate Wayne “Chip” Withers was sent the letter Wednesday by FIU’s general counsel Carlos Castillo over his flier that showed an endorsement from the university’s former president, Modesto Maidique.
The flier, which was also posted on his Facebook page, contains the FIU logo and a shot of one of the campus buildings. Castillo asked Withers and his campaign to remove the logo and image from the flier and from his Facebook page.
“The Withers campaign and you should be aware that neither the campaign nor you are authorized to use the FIU logo or imagery without the express approval and licensing of FIU,” Castillo wrote in the letter.
Withers said that he immediately complied and removed the flier from his Facebook page. He said he was surprised because he’s used campaign materials in the past that featured logos from the University of Florida and University of Miami and didn’t have any issues.
“I’m sorry if I violated anything. I got the letter and took it down,” Withers said. “There was certainly no malicious intent and I had no idea that it was infringement.”
The issue has emerged in other local elections as Palmetto Bay council candidate David Singer was sued by the village last year for using the village’s logo in his campaign fliers. Singer eventually removed the logo from his campaign website.
Withers is competing for the Group 3 seat against Commissioner Patricia Keon and previously served on the dais from 1991-2011. April 11 is election day in the Gables.