Mark Robertson: “Multiple ethical, civil and criminal complaints will be handled through official channels. The White House has been notified and it will be covered by the national media, because cyber-bullying is the platform of Melania Trump, the First Lady ...”

DESTIN — The day after he came in last place in the recent city election, City Council candidate Mark Robertson sent an emailed complaint to Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux that alleges Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell, her husband and another local resident engaged in election tampering.

 

In the March 14 email, which included more than 100 pages of attached documents, Robertson asks for Ramswell, her husband Anthony Ramswell and Holiday Isle Improvement Association Treasurer Darryl Shelton to be investigated for allegedly recycling falsehoods about him and causing his election defeat.

While voters re-elected Prebble Ramswell to her second term on the council, Robertson received the fewest votes of the five candidates seeking one of three open council seats. Incumbent Councilman Rodney Braden and third-time council candidate Skip Overdier won the two other seats.

Robertson copied state Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Destin, on his email to Lux, along with newly elected Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis and Destin City Manager Carisse LeJeune.

Among the documents attached to the email is a mention from Robertson that his attorney is Dana Matthews.

Matthews, whose most well-known client might be Peter Bos, the chairman of Legendary LLC, which developed the Emerald Grande, was part of the Destin Conservatives political action committee that strived to replace Ramswell, Braden and then-Mayor Scott Fischer in the March 13 election.

Among other assertions, Robertson, who is an Air Force veteran and retired chaplain, claims in his email that the Ramswells and Shelton are “cyberbullies” who “publicly slandered” him on the Destin Clothesline Facebook page shortly before the election.

Prebble Ramswell, who obtained Robertson’s email to Lux through a public records request, said Thursday that she has not posted to and was not involved in the creation of the Clothesline, which contains allegations, rants and other types of posts from at least one anonymous author.

“As far as I know, (the identity of the Clothesline’s creator(s) is a closely guarded secret,” Ramswell said.

She said Robertson’s claims that she and others tampered with the election and publicly slandered him “are so ludicrous, they’re laughable, and it just reeks of ‘sore loser.’ ”

Robertson did not immediately return phone calls for comment, but he did show up at the Daily News office on Thursday to meet with a reporter.

Robertson remained standing with his left hand tucked behind his back while delivering the following statements:

“Multiple ethical, civil and criminal complaints will be handled through official channels. The White House has been notified and it will be covered by the national media, because cyber-bullying is the platform of Melania Trump, the First Lady. Election tampering is also a national concern, and a father’s paternity rights made (President) Trump’s State of the Union Address.”

Robertson asked for his statements to be read aloud, and after making brief comments about the Clothesline, he left the building after declining to answer any questions.

His left hand was empty.

In cyberspace

Among other allegations on the Clothesline is a March 9 post that claims Robertson committed domestic violence against his ex-wife, Annabelle Robertson, who lives in South Carolina and is running for Congress.

A March 11 post on the Clothesline alleges that Robertson and his ex-wife were divorced in South Carolina in an at-fault divorce because of physical cruelty by Robertson.

Those allegations are false, Robertson said in his email to Lux.

In the email, Robertson talks about himself in the third person while referring to many of the attached documents that pertain to his divorce, the custody of his children, his military career and other matters.

“Here is a timeline argument, rejecting the false allegation that Candidate Mark Robertson was judged to be ‘physically cruel’ in a South Carolina divorce proceeding,” Robertson wrote. “This falsehood was circulated via cyberspace on a website, called the ‘Destin Clothesline.’ As a result of this election-tampering slander, Candidate Mark Robertson lost the Destin City Election by 135 votes. Please investigate Prebble Ramswell, Anthony Ramswell and Darryl Shelton for election tampering.”

While Robertson received 135 fewer votes than Ramswell, he also ended up with 60 fewer votes than candidate Theresa Hebert.

Ramswell on Thursday said, “I have never posted anything about that man or his family, nor did my husband. Well, I can’t speak for my husband, but I’m unaware of my husband posting anything.”

She said the Clothesline “is not our page. We didn’t post on it, so I don’t know why he would accuse us of doing that. But his allegations are just literally laughable and completely baseless.

“And if anyone was bullied in this election, all you had to do was open your mailbox and look at any number of the postcards (from the Destin Conservatives PAC) that were about me, Rodney Braden and Scott Fischer.”

In response to the “public slandering” he believes occurred via the Destin Clothesline, Robertson wrote in his March 14 email that his ex-wife’s “allegations of abuse were rejected as false” by a judge in South Carolina in May 2016.

He also wrote that his divorce was a no-fault divorce, and that a judgment of dissolution of marriage was issued in April 2011 by a court in California, not South Carolina.

According to their marital settlement agreement from 2011, the Robertsons were married in 1994 and separated in 2008.

“Unhappy differences have arisen between Petitioner (Annabelle Robertson) and Respondent which have led to the irreconcilable breakdown of their marriage,” according to the agreement.

In response to Robertson’s concerns, Lux said Wednesday his office does not have jurisdiction to investigate claims of election tampering or public slandering.

“I put Mr. Robertson in touch with the two agencies that can help him: the Florida Elections Commission and the Florida Commission on Ethics,” Lux said.

He added that the only time the word “tamper” is used in the state’s election statutes is when it specifically applies to things that are sealed and can be tampered with.

“I can’t presuppose what section of election law he claims were tampered with,” Lux said.

Lux said he thinks he referred Robertson to the two state agencies during a phone call with him shortly after the election.

He said he was able to read Robertson’s March 14 emailed summary of his concerns, but he could not download on his office computer Robertson’s numerous attached documents.

Hello again

Robertson came to Lux’s office in Shalimar and shared some of his “election tampering” concerns on March 15 during a portion of the time period that Robertson’s wife, Lisa, had considered him “missing.”

According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Lisa Robertson reported her husband missing at about 1 a.m. March 15 after having last seen him at about 4 p.m. March 14.

Robertson sent his email and batch of attached documents to Lux at 4:53 p.m. March 14.

During the early afternoon of March 15, Mark Robertson returned home and was “fine,” his wife had told the Destin Log.

“He was in my office during the time he was reported missing,” Lux said. “If we had known he was missing, we would have notified someone that he wasn’t missing.”

Lux said Robertson sent him an email on March 16 that stated he did not concede the election. Lux said he let Robertson know that the official vote totals were not close enough to trigger a recount and that the top three vote recipients won.

In late February, the Sheriff’s Office issued Robertson a trespass warning after he reportedly tried to campaign at Braden’s home.

Braden requested the warning after he said cameras at his house captured Robertson coming into his yard.

Even though Braden’s magnetic City Council signs were on the cars in his family’s driveway, Robertson left one of his cards on the windshield of one of the vehicles, Braden told the Log.

Robertson told the Log that he didn’t know he was canvassing Braden’s home.

“I’ve been campaigning door-to-door for eight weeks so I can talk heart-to-heart with people,” Robertson said. “I think I left my business card on a car.”

Lux said Robertson contacted him after he received the trespass warning.

“He asked for my advice, which I don’t give as it relates to campaigns,” Lux said.