A Largo man who's running for a city commission seat was arrested for trying to extort his rival into dropping out of the race, according to police.
"I’ve been waiting to see who’s done it," said the victim, Aaron Darr, 24. "I’m very disappointed that it came back that it was indeed Robert Avery."
According to an arrest affidavit, Robert Avery, 31, sent an anonymous email to Darr at 2:16 a.m. on August 29. An excerpt from the anonymous email that Darr provided Bay News 9 stated, "trust me might not be a good idea to run. You will end up publicly humiliating yourself... remember never post anything digitally you wouldn't want your mom or partner to see."
Name Yeah Right
Subject Dont bother filing
Message Hi Arron, wish you luck on your run but trust me might not be a good idea to run. You will end up publicly humiliating yourself... Got some nice things the citizens of largo will be seeing soon... Remember never post anything digitally you wouldn't want your mom or partner to see. just saying... could be a very bad decision to run... Also you are already in violation of Election Laws, submitted the complaint as well... Fines of up to 5,000 will probably be asseted but only can if you file... Decision is yours... Sincerely, A Largo Citizen that watches for crooked people
Sent on: 29 August, 2015
Avery admitted to sending that email advising Darr that he had documents which could harm his election and knew it was extortion, according to the affidavit. Police said a subpoena showed the IP address used to send the email was registered to Avery. But as he was being released from the Pinellas County jail Monday night, Avery denied he ever admitted guilt to detectives.
"I’ve never sent him an email. If I would, I’ll admit it," he said. "Why do I need to threaten anybody to get anybody out of my way? Let the public make the decision."
Avery said he's never up that early in the morning and that his computer was hacked around the time the email was sent.
"Within a week or so before that incident, my computer was hacked," he said. "I explained to them, it looks like an email that I would write. My writing style and stuff but then again everything that was on my computer at the time is all my documents."
Darr said he has nothing to hide and this incident will not prevent him from running for commission seat 3, that's currently held by Curtis Holmes. Avery said he still plans to run for that seat too. Darr questioned whether someone arrested for extortion should ever hold office.
Aaron Darr plans to run for commission seat 3.
"I would never, ever, be so mean spirited to send somebody a derogatory, threatening, mean spirited email in the manner in which he did," Darr said. "Especially, somebody who wants to run for office. Talk about public integrity. Those are not the kind of people that should be running for office or holding any kind of office at all in the City of Largo."
Avery was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.