Newt Sign Dispute: Local Businessman Out $3,200 | News
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- On the heels of Wednesday night's GOP debate, a local businessman says he's the loser in this contest.
Rob DePiazza owns Screen Arts in St. Augustine, a print shop in business for 35 years.
In January, he was contracted to print off 650 yard signs and 10,000 bumper stickers for Newt Gingrich.
Only after he started the work, he started getting nervous.
"I started worrying, because the need for the signs was diminishing rapidly," said DePiazza.
DePiazza says he was contacted by Robert Smith, a St. Augustine resident who had put him in touch with campaigns in the past.
"We had to reproduce the official artwork, and the artwork has the disclaimer on it. Newt.Org, Paid For By Newt 2012," he said.
But when it came time for payment, DePiazza says he got a check from Smith, not the Gingrich campaign.
That check bounced, and Gingrich lost Florida badly.
While the former House speaker was out 50 delegates, DePiazza was out $3,200 for his work.
Unable to get in touch with Smith, DePiazza contacted the Newt Campaign. Local and State volunteers with the Gingrich campaign tell First Coast News Robert Smith was never authorized to order the signs, and the campaign did not sign off on them.
"All they care about is money and if people get hurt along the way, they really don't care," he said.
First Coast News repeatedly reached out to Smith for comment, but we were unable to contact him.