According to some investigative reporting by the Tampa Bay Times, General Counsel for the Rays John Higgins gave $100 on two separate occasions to a local City Council race in District 7 of St. Petersburg.
The seat in question is one of eight on the City Council that holds the fate of the Rays stadium search in their hands, and this race in particular has been considered a close one.
Rays "opponent" Wengay Newton is vacating his seat due to term limits, and his brother is running in his place with the same staunch opposition to a Rays stadium search. The Newton spin is to vote against the Stadium contract reforms without specific promises to redistrict a nearby neighborhood into Tropicana Field's 85-acres, if and when the land will be re-developed.
Running against the Newton brother is Lisa Wheeler-Brown, who has not only campaigned in favor of allowing a Rays stadium search, but also does not believe the neighborhood in question (Southside CRA) needs to be redistricted into Tropicana Field's 85-acres.
General Counsel Higgins is not just any lawyer for the Rays; his full title reads "Senior Vice President of Administration/General Counsel," and he receives third billing on the front office page for the team.
It should be noted that Higgins does not appear to have done anything wrong in giving $200 toward the $57,000 raised by Wheeler-Brown, although the team provided a statement to the Times distancing themselves from the action:
"As we have stated and believe, it is not our intention to have any undue influence on this election, the citizens of St. Petersburg must decide who would best represent their interests and act accordingly. If a Rays employee would like to contribute to a campaign, it is their right to do so."
Today is election day in St. Petersburg.