Friday, February 28, 2014

Duncan Raising Money for Rail Private Advocacy Campaign 6 months prior to "Yes for Greenlight"

Ronnie Duncan, chairman of TBARTA who recently resigned from the private "Yes for Greenlight" advocacy campaign, remains a drag on TBARTA and the Greenlight Pinellas referendum. Duncan still must resign from TBARTA.  

While he was chairman of TBARTA, according to this Times article in January, Duncan was out raising money for 6 months for the then unnamed private advocacy campaign: 
Boosters of the referendum, led by Ronnie Duncan, chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority, have begun work on a privately funded advocacy campaign to sell the public on the transit tax. In an interview, Duncan said the group has been raising money for the last six months, but declined to disclose how much or when the campaign will make its debut. It will continue to work with Tucker Hall to shape its message, he said.
At the same time Duncan, while chairman of TBARTA, was behind the scenes orchestrating the private advocacy campaign, TBARTA formally endorsed Greenlight Pinellas.  
TBARTA endorses Greenlight Pinellas
TBARTA, with Ronnie Duncan as chairman, endorsed Greenlight Pinellas on September 27, at the same time a private group led by Ronnie Duncan was raising money for a private advocacy campaign.  Which happened first - Duncan negotiating with anonymous special interest donors or TBARTA's endorsement? Or did they coincidently occur about the same time? 

Apparently the behind the scenes orchestration for raising money for a private campaign was started almost a year ago, according to this Tampa Bay Times article of April 13, 2013:
It's too early to know who will take the lead in fundraising, but rail advocates said they will look for someone with ties to the business community and government, such as Ronnie Duncan, chairman of the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority,(emphasis/highlight mine)….
We must say the power brokers couldn't get much closer to finding someone with ties to the business community and government than Ronnie Duncan.  Duncan is Founder and President of the Duncan Companies which provides a number of services including commercial real estate and land development. In addition, Duncan's wife, Ann Duncan, is President and Founder of Vertical Integration, Inc., a commercial real estate firm that includes a public and private sector practice. 
Ronnie Duncan, President, The Duncan Companies, Inc.
Who will be contributing to the Yes for Greenlight private advocacy campaign? The Tampa Tribune reported:
Realtors, construction firms and other companies are expected to raise up to $1 million for the advocacy campaign dubbed “Yes for Greenlight.”
Perhaps this was a slip of the tongue but Brad Miller, CEO of PSTA confirmed rail is not about mobility but development.  Miller stated at an event last summer where I heard his Greenlight Pinellas pitch, that the reason rail is part of Greenlight Pinellas is economic development aka transit-oriented development which is land development around transit stations.  

Still TBARTA has never responded to the initial letter sent to Ronnie Duncan and the TBARTA board requesting Duncan resign from TBARTA.  We then must assume the board of TBARTA condones Duncan's behavior and that sets a bad precedent. TBARTA has lost its credibility and public trust.  The only way to regain it back is for Duncan to resign from TBARTA.


  1. Interesting, I had no idea that Duncan's wife has a direct opportunity for real-estate sales to the public sector. She needs to be investigated much more closely. Maybe a public request for information related to any and all correspondents from the Duncan's should be initiated? Who knows what will be discovered.