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“4th Floor Files” talks to Fred Leonhardt about the last day of session, owning a restaurant, and ‘The Poseidon Adventure’

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Editor’s note: To help us remember just how special our friend Fred Leonhard was, we are re-posting his 4th Floor File Q&A from 2013.

This installment of the “4th Floor Files” features GrayRobinson’s legendary Fred Leonhardt. Here’s the file on Fred.

Significant other?

Wife – Vicki, married 37 years


Yes. A daughter in the retail jewelry business with my wife (128 year-old family owned business) and a son in the real estate business in Florida. Neither of my children opted to go to law school or become lobbyists. They’re smart!

Grand kids?

No grandkids yet, watch this space.

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

I try to help clients solve problems. Mostly problems with government.  Sometimes problems with each other.

Without using the words Democrat, Independent or Republican, conservative or liberal, describe your political persuasion.

I am a fiscal watchdog, concerned about the excessive national debt and happy that Florida is required to balance its budget. In regards to social issues, I am open minded and not nearly as hung up on the social side of the agenda as some of my counterparts in the party to which I belong.

During your career, have you had a favorite pro bono client?

Boy Scouts of America

Three favorite charities

Boy Scouts of America.

Bridges of America, a fabulous not-for-profit that fixes prisoners by making them useful citizens.

Florida Hospital Foundation, Celebration Health and Cardiovascular Institute.

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

Wear a pink carnation (Marvin Arrington) and an “I Love Publix” button (Randy Roberts) in memory of two great friends who served as lobbyists.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2013 Legislative Session.

The leadership of Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford and how terrific it is that they both seem to have the ability to communicate, work things out, agree and get things done.

If you could have another lobbyist’s client list, it would be….

Chris Carmody and Robert Stuart, Jr., since we have almost the same list

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Assisting University of Central Florida with approval and implementation of its new medical school which has stimulated significant economic development activity in our State.

Lobbyists are often accused of wearing Gucci loafers; do you own a pair of Gucci loafers?  If not, why not?

I do not own a pair of Gucci loafers. I do enjoy comfortable Foot Joys and lately boots, following the style of Governor Scott.

Who is your favorite Florida Capitol Press Corp reporter and why?

Aaron Deslatte with the Orlando Sentinel. His insights are interesting and sometimes even accurate.

Other than, your reading list includes…

Sayfie Review and most of the State’s major newspapers

What swear word do you use most often?


What is your favorite item of clothing in your closet?  Give us the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible.

Quantas Airlines grey flannel pajamas given any time you take an overnight international flight on Quantas Airlines. The pajamas are free, the flight is not.

The best hotel in Florida is…

Honey Lake Plantation in Madison County. Not a hotel but a fabulous hunting resort. One can kill quail or enjoy the spa, or both.

You’ve just learned that you will be hosting a morning talk show about Florida politics.  Who are the first four guests you’d invite to appear?

Rick Scott, Jeb Bush, Charlie Crist and Bob Graham

Homeland, Mad Men, The Walking Dead … which one do you watch, which one do you DVR and which one do you skip?

I don’t watch any of Homeland, Mad Men or The Walking Dead. Fox News is on wherever I am 24/7.

Favorite movie.

The Poseidon Adventure is my favorite movie totally because of the song, “There Has Got To Be A Morning After.”

Before the ‘gift ban’, what was your favorite restaurant in Tallahassee?  What is your favorite today?

Before the ‘gift ban’ was Cool Grinds on Park Avenue. I owned a piece of it, lost everything. My favorite today is Longhorn Steak House on Monroe, but they need a larger parking lot. Too full!

When you pig out, what do you eat?

Cesar salad with grilled chicken and light dressing. To pig out I get regular dressing.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure no longer living, who would it be?

Charlie Crist during his first term as Attorney General.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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