Affidavit claims Brian & Alex catered food at rally
An affidavit was filed Thursday requesting review of presidential candidate Brian Zagrocki's campaign rally, claiming that the candidate provided food at the event, a violation of SGA election statutes.
According to Title VI of the statutes, no group of candidates can provide food, drinks or prizes to voters during the campaigning process. The statute states that this rule applies on and off campus property. Zagrocki's campaign rally was held Tuesday night at Buffalo Wild Wings on University Boulevard.
Tyler Yeargain, SGA College of Sciences senator and political science major, filed the affidavit, claiming that he thinks food was provided by the ticket in some way.
"I have no doubt the students purchased food using their own money, but it certainly would seem that Brian & Alex did provide food in some way or another, which is in violation of Title VI," Yeargain said, referencing photos of the rally that he said suggest food was catered on trays at the rally.
But Zagrocki defended his campaign and said he did not cater or provide food at the rally. Addressing the photos showing trays of food, he said the parents of his running mate, Alex Bennett, attended the rally and had purchased a tray of chicken wings.
"Alex's parents did make a surprise visit and purchased a tray of wings for us, but that was not food provided by our ticket for the purpose of distribution," he said. "Again, it saddens me deeply that we are being attacked because Alex's parents decided to do something nice and purchase us food."
A document signed by a manager of the restaurant states that the ticket did not cater the rally, and that attendees "were encouraged to purchase their own food at their own expense."
"We have documented, signed proof from the general manager at Buffalo Wild Wings that we did not cater food," Zagrocki said. "That's all I'm going to say as that is proof itself that we did not cater the event. The rally was a great success and an awesome turnout from UCF students who were really excited about our platform."
SGA Senate President Pro Tempore Sara Gomez said the period of active campaigning is defined as beginning once a candidate declares his or her candidacy.
"During the period of active campaigning, a candidate cannot provide food because it is considered a bribe," Gomez said. "Additionally, only items for educational purposes are allowed to be distributed."
SGA Supervisor of Elections Nicklas Bajema said that according to election statutes, a violation hearing cannot be held before the sixth day after an affidavit is filed. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 3 at at 7 p.m. in the Student Union's Pensacola Board Room.
Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_or email her at NadaH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.