For nearly two decades, Eric Seidel helped out Tampa Bay residents through his investigative reports on WTVT-FOX 13 as their consumer reporter. Now he wants to work for the people as a public servant – specifically as the next clerk of the Circuit Court in Hillsborough County.
“From collecting on a legal judgement or filing a small claim in a dispute, to attempting to file a divorce without being able to afford an attorney, I’ve heard all the horror stories,” Seidel said Monday afternoon in a press release. “I want to be able to do more than put the problems on TV or help folks as a private attorney – as Clerk, I will truly be able to serve the consumers – all the citizens of Hillsborough County.”
Seidel will be running for the Republican nomination for Clerk. The seat is currently held by Democrat Pat Frank, who is already being challenged in her own primary by County Commissioner Kevin Beckner. Seidel becomes the first Republican to enter the race.
While Seidel has been an attorney his entire professional life, he parlayed that knowledge of the law practically as a consumer reporter for FOX 13 from 1991-2010, when he stepped down from television to open his own law practice. For the past two years he’s also served on the county’s Value Adjustment Board, which hears property owners’ challenges to their property tax assessments.
The 52-year-old says he wants to be the next clerk of the courts to make it more “user-friendly” for the citizenry, saying that he intends to build on what Frank has done in the office over the past decade with respect to electronic filings.
“Just a few weeks ago, I was approached by a local TV station wanting advice on how to help a consumer whose only car was in the mechanic’s shop for more than a year, and couldn’t get it out,” he says.”The answer is in the Clerk of the Court’s office, but many people don’t know it. The consumer can pay the disputed bill in the Clerk’s registry, and get a certificate for the release of the car. The shop then has 60 days to prove its repair bill was reasonable in front of a judge.”
Seidel lives in Tampa with his wife, Dayle, who works as an assistant state attorney general, and his son, Chase. His press release touts his website as being www.EricSeidelforClerk.com, but a click on that link on Monday only presents a GoDaddy page.