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Hillsborough Commission candidate Elvis Pigott explains his arrest record – again

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Last week, SPB published a story about 29-year-old Elvis Pigott, a Democratic candidate for the District 5 countywide seat on the Hillsborough County Commission. The seat will be vacated next year by a term-limited Ken Hagan (who will run again in District 2).

The story referenced Pigott’s arrest record, where he is listed as having been charged with five separate felonies, including charges of grand theft and dealing in stolen property and providing false information on secondary metals recycling.

Pigott denied that he was guilty of any of the charges, saying that, in fact, he took the rap for his twin brother who was already in trouble with the authorities.

Patrick Manteiga of La Gaceta also reported on Pigott’s arrests, and now the candidate is responding in an “open letter,” where he is doubling down on his previous statement that falsely admitted to the crimes in an attempt to help change his twin brother’s troubled life.

“To be honest, I don’t believe I would have made a different decision had I had to do it again,” Piggott writes in his email, addressed to this reporter and Manteiga.

Here are the key paragraphs:

I am 29 years of age and a twin.When my brother and I were younger my Mother and Grandmother taught me to forever look out for my  brother, as I told you before, we were raised by my grandmother who at that time could not walk so I was responsible for not only caring for her, but my twin brother as well. As a young man faced with so many challenges, I chose to face those challenges head on. I got a job at 10 rounding up shopping carts for a local grocer just to make a lil money to buy food, in-order-to take back home, to cook for my little family. As I became older I began working at McDonalds and remained there for 9 years all while preparing myself to go into ministry full-time. My twin brother however, decided that he would take a different path in life. Whereas I embraced the mantle of provider early on to do what was necessary for the family; my brother became lured to the fast and easy life.

“My twin and I are very close, so when I was told that he had been arrested for several actions and was looking at some very hard time for his wrongs, I made a decision at that time to help save him. I had never been in trouble with the law and prior to any of the posted information had never intended on ever blemishing my reputation, but I loving my brother, traded my life for his in the attempt to give him one more opportunity to change his life. I am not writing this as a man that’s looking for the public’s sympathy, understanding or forgiveness. I am however, writing this as a form of accountability. Accountability not just for the decisions that I made so many, many years ago regarding my brother, but accountability to all those that I am willing to lay my life and interest down for in-order-to see them win and succeed. I made decisions that I am not proud of and I am no different than many of you who can reflect and find reasons how certain actions should have or should not have been addressed in a different manner; I will say this, my decision to serve this wonderful county and to bring with me that same sense of accountability in my opinion is one of the best places to start.”

Whether Pigott’s arrest record – and/or his explanation about it – slows down his candidacy will be determined over the course of the next year, if he can keep himself viable in a race that should attract other candidates.

Outgoing District 2 Republican Victor Crist is also term-limited next year and is rumored to already have decided to run in the District 5 seat in 2018.

With the Democratic primary for District 5 still more than a year away, the onus is on Pigott to convince voters that he is believable and can be the best candidate to represent them at the Board of County Commission.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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