'Iron Man,' 'Jack Bauer' donate to Polk candidate

Billy Townsend is using fictional characters to help fund his Polk County School Board race.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WTSP) -- Iron Man, Jack Bauer and Peter Venkman. There’s one thing these fictional characters have in common. They’re all donating to candidate for Polk County School Board Billy Townsend. Well, sort of.

Tony Stark LLC, Jack Bauer LLC, Peter Venkman LLC and several other LLCs named after movie characters are associated with one person, Gregory Fancelli.

Under Florida law, Fancelli can donate only up to $1,000 of his own money to a campaign. However, he can donate $1,000 more from each of the LLCs. So far between all of them, the total is around $9,000.

This method of donating can certainly confuse voters.

“Kind of a loophole, I guess you might say,” voter Ed Brandt said.

Fancelli doesn't see it that way.

“Billy is in our opinion the best guy for the job, and we want to make sure he has the best shot at it,” he said.

Townsend said he's glad his campaign is getting the money, but he'd be open to campaign finance reform.

“I would happily embrace a system where political contributions are limited much more severely than they are, but that's not the system that we have,” he explained.

For now, he's embracing the system we do have.

Townsend's opponent Hunt Berryman calls this practice "questionable,” but says he respects Florida's election laws. Berryman is spending more than $50,000 of his own money on his campaign.


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