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John Ruffalo, a Reagan Assemblies Leader, Affronts County Commissioner at Courthouse

| July 10, 2015

john ruffalo ronald reagan republican assemblies

John Ruffalo, a founding member of the extremist group known as the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies, leaving court today. He is the man in the tank-top. Duane Weeks is to the far left. Also pictured are Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, who is prosecuting the Kimberle Weeks case, and Joerg Jaeger, who is defending Weeks. (© FlaglerLive)

“A fucking phony.”

That’s what John Ruffalo, a founding member and current first vice president of the group known as the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies, allegedly called Flagler County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen today outside a courtroom at the Flagler County Courthouse, prompting Ericksen–who was concerned for his safety–to report the incident to sheriff’s deputies.

The alleged incident took place two months after another Reagan group member, Mark Richter, resigned after sending an obscene email to local media. Richter is running for the county commission against Ericksen.

Ericksen and Ruffalo were at the courthouse in anticipation of the first pre-trial hearing in the case of Kimberle Weeks, the ex-elections supervisor facing 12 felony counts on charges she illegally recorded various individuals, among them Ericksen, without their knowledge.

“I was walking down here, I saw him sitting here,” Ericksen said this afternoon, describing the long and wide corridor outside the fourth-floor courtrooms at the courthouse, where a few benches face entry to each courtroom. “He just gave me this blank stare.” Ericksen checked the door to one courtroom. It was locked. He checked the door to another, and somewhere along the way Ruffalo, Ericksen said, let out the expletive.

Ruffalo and Ericksen are both in their early 70s, but Ericksen says he’s aware of Ruffalo’s history. (Ruffalo three years ago allegedly used force against a 72-year-old woman and fellow-Republican to prevent her from coming into a Republican headquarters in Palm Coast.)

“He was ready to say something else,” Ericksen said. “I said: do we need to call the sheriff or something, and he said no, so I just went downstairs and made a record of it.” Ericksen spoke with the sheriff’s sergeant supervising the bailiffs at the courthouse.

Ruffalo was sitting next to Duane Weeks, husband of Kimberle, who had his own run-in with a county commissioner last September. Kimberle Weeks herself did not show up: she filed a waiver of appearance.

“I guess I’m a phony because I didn’t do everything they told me to do,” Ericksen said. He had been a member of the Reagan assemblies several years ago, before he was elected to the commission. He broke away, as did Palm Coast council member Bill McGuire, after disagreeing with the group’s tactics.

Ruffalo did not return a call to his home. Ruffalo was in the news earlier this week as the author of two new ethics violation allegations he filed against County Attorney Al Hadeed (who was in court today, sitting across from Ruffalo) and Commissioner Barbara Revels.

ericksen ruffalo

John Ruffalo, left, and Charlie Ericksen, in a 2012 photo, when the two were closer and Ericksen was a member of the Reagan group.

Absent a plea from Weeks, which was not expected–at least not this early in the process: Weeks’s history is such that she has tended to stretch out her confrontations until the last minute when, facing a losing situation, she makes a deal–the pre-trial was likely to be uneventful. And it was.

There was confusion about when it was scheduled. The court docket listed it as 9 a.m. It was, in fact, either set for or continued to 1:30 p.m., when it actually started. Circuit Judge Margaret Hudson, who is replacing Judge J. David Walsh in the case (he recused himself), introduced herself, as did the prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, and Weeks’s attorney, Joerg Jaeger of Orlando.

They all agreed to hold another pre-trial conference on Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m., as various matters have to be worked out between now and then. “There are some issues that are novel and new that may need some legal interpretation on. I think 90 days would be an appropriate period of time,” Jaeger, hinting at the approach the defense will take. Jaeger mentioned “a lot of innovations with the advent of smart phones,” suggesting that how these “innovations” intersect with the law may be the grounds where he will be arguing his side of the case.

The only other surprise in the minutes-long hearing was when Lewis proposed the Tallahassee office of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a venue for some depositions. It’s not a very nice place but we can do that,” Jaeger said.

The hearing was ended soon after that.

Ruffalo was quick to leave the courtroom and the floor. The exchange with Ericksen was not his first in the last few weeks. On June 16, Ruffalo emailed Ericksen, after Ericksen was quoted in FlaglerLive as saying that Jason DeLorenzo, the Palm Coast city councilman, would made a good county commissioner, even in Ericksen’s own seat, should Ericksen decide not to run again. Ruffalo’s email is richly sarcastic, making oblique reference to the fact that Ruffalo had himself put up and taken down campaign signs for Ericksen (as he did for many Republicans), and that Ruffalo had his own wife run as a write-in candidate in Ericksen’s general-election race in 2012, ensuring that the primary race would be a closed primary (even though there was no legitimate candidate in the general), which helped Ericksen win. Ruffalo then wonders with equal sarcasm whether it was DeLorenzo who’d been Ericksen’s campaign manager before he calls Ericksen “a man without honor,” adding: “History shows that we are judged not for what we say but for what we do.”

In late May the Reagan group’s president, Mike McElroy, sent a letter to his membership cautioning against name calling. The email was promoted by Richter’s actions after his obscene email to local media.

“Sometimes it is very easy to click a button and satisfy some immediate passion or grudge. We need to reflect before we do so. We not only discredit ourselves but we harm the organization and values we are here to promote,” McElroy wrote. “I share members frustrations about media labeling and name calling. All the more reason that we should not engage in this kind of tactic. Political dialogue and passion are one thing, but when we give in to anger and darker emotions we do not elevate ourselves. In the future I would not wish to be put in this position again. Our by-laws do have a process for addressing actions by members which reflect discredit on the body. I prefer that we accept individual responsibility and avoid bringing discredit to our Assembly.”

Contacted by phone about today’s alleged name-calling by Ruffalo, McElroy said he’d not been made aware of the issue. “I conduct myself with manners, but I don’t want to judge anyone until I hear both sides of the story.”

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27 Responses for “John Ruffalo, a Reagan Assemblies Leader, Affronts County Commissioner at Courthouse”

  1. Patriot76 says:

    Geez this guy is a bit ‘Ruffalo’ around the edges huh?

    I’m not one to pun all the time, but I couldn’t resist..

    It amazes me how a body/assembly of individuals claims the entire assembly cannot be blamed for the actions of one…two..three…(who is keeping count anyway) of its members actions when they have dedicated their entire existence to defeated any “Liberal” candidate who doesn’t subscribe to their narrow views on the world.

    Hypocrisy is clearly evident in much that they do, but how can the voting public continue to support people who neither have their interests at heart not those of the community. And similarly, how can we tolerate such impropriety and indecency while scorning political ideals we do not subscribe to? Surely any man would tolerate the latter and not the fore?

    The Ronald Reagan Republican assembly continues to act out in uncivil ways because they are uncivilized individuals. To believe the actions of various individuals in their group is merely a unilateral action by that member when it is not public ally condemned must certainly be evidentiary of a greater internal policy?

    Just think on that for a while

  2. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    And how does noted RRR member and duly elected councilman Steven Nobile feel about this? Does this group still represent your values?

  3. Colonel of Marines Jack D. Howell II says:

    It appears to me that the only phony is John Ruffalo who appears to be the bully of bullies!. Appears that he likes to run his mouth, show off his arms and get physical with weak people. Yeah, he is a real man. Unfortunately this tactic of fear and intimidation works on most people who buckle to his demands. If he ever pulls BS on me, he will have met his match! I don’t back down nor kowtower to anyone. Fortunately, I don’t associate with idiots like him or would give him the satisfaction of a physical confrontation.

  4. If it quacks like a duck says:

    He calls em them the way he sees em. Want to cheese to with that whine Charlie? Some Commissions are reacting to complaints being filed against them.

  5. Vincent Neri says:

    If I do not agree with you we can agree to disagree. It is fine to be passionate about your views , However, Their comes a point where things go beyond debate and stated discourse. Profanity and violence provide a negative picture of what politics is about in Flagler County. From an optics stand point it looks stupid and professional people do not want to be involved in stupid things. At the end of the day all the hate, profanity, victriol, and violence in no way helps the residents of our community. The better answer is to identify the needs of our residents and come up with ideas that might help them. Elections are about ideas and people want to know what you are going to do to solve their problems. Gaining an understanding of the needs of all the different social classes that make up your constituency is a good start. If you are truly political clubs working on solving real problems then their should be no time for profanity and violence. My challenge to the political clubs of Flagler County is to come up with one idea every month that might help. Their should be an idea of the month with discussion that explains the idea so the people know how it might solve their problem. When your doing the peoples work their is no time for nonsense because it is hard work.

  6. If it quacks like a duck says:

    This group obviously stands for something, and have shown County Commissioner Ericksen isn’t true blue and changes like the wind. I appreciate people like John Ruffalo.

  7. Geezer says:

    I thought that the person clad in the white top was an elderly woman (top photo).
    An optical illusion. A mistake, an optic nerve misfire, or maybe a reminder to not
    smoke wacky weed..

    Now I’ll drink some milk of amnesia to forget.

  8. Robert Lewis says:

    I would like to establish a “Go Fund Me” account so we can buy Mr. Ruffalo a new orange shirt. It seems it is indeed his favorite shirt.

  9. Knightwatch says:

    These people (the RRRA) are truly sick. And, they are now scary. Their paranoia and vindictiveness is pervasive. These are the kind of people who walk around angry and armed. I believe their own far-right rhetoric and super aggressive attitude makes them fully capable of physical intimidation and maybe worse. They must be pushed back under the woodpile from which they came. Vote anti-RRRA in 2016.

    • Geezer says:

      If only they took a moment to realize how foolish they look.
      Only in Florida does wisdom NOT accompany old age.

      “Angry and armed” – you have no idea how spot-on you are.

      Older male + fanny pack + embittered look = packing heat
      (add daily testosterone replacement gel and you have a dangerous geezer)

  10. DwFerg says:

    Never saw/experienced such vitriol to WHAT END ??? Who even cares ?-So few people vote because ,in part, due to such Antics. Please …

  11. DwFerg says:

    Especially here in Flagler County, barely 100,000 people year round, perhaps NYC, Chicago, LA, but here , in the “retirement Haven of Palm Coast ???? Very Strange –esp. for these seniors….what ever happened to shuffleboard and the “blue plate” special ???

  12. Capt Jack says:

    Because someone was told they were a fraud is not intimidation or anything for one to feel threatened. It is no different than telling someone they are a liar. It is clear that commissioner Ericksen has an ax to grind and notified the police to prove it. Charlie Ericksen used John Ruffalo to get elected and this shows the kind of man Ericksen is. Maybe this too explains why Ericksen has been involved in all the election controversary in 2014. Where there is smoke there is fire. If your a phony, your a phony.

  13. Jim W says:

    Did Flagler live really have to write Fucking Phony? Come on, f-ing phony would be much classier and ethical. Please don’t turn into a national enquirer type news feed.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Jim, Mr. Ruffalo, according to Mr. Ericksen, did not qualify his insult with a star, a dash or an ellipse. We should not presume to adulterate his exact words.

  14. Rich Mikola says:

    Once again, a member of the RRRA / TEA PARTY makes a fool of himself and his organization. Will these nitwits ever go away? Flagler County deserves better.

  15. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Really, what do you expect from a group that idolizes a lackluster movie star with Alzheimer’s that illegally traded arms with Iran in order to fund Nicaraguan terrorists responsible for numerous human rights violations, all in the name of “democracy.” A modern-day Quisling, creator of trickle-down economics and best buddy of Margaret Thatcher, who covered up numerous instances of child sexual abuse amongst the British elite. RRR, more like LOL.

  16. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Really, the more I watch the behavior of the RRR’s, the more I get the impression that it’s nothing more than a country club designed for lonely old people with anger management issues that need an outlet to express their distaste for minorities and poor people. I can only imagine what the meetings are like, probably staffed with the same types that put themselves on the boards of homeowner’s associations.

  17. markingthedays says:

    What kind of grown man wears a tank top to court?

  18. tulip says:

    Ruffalo is a ruffian and a bully, Richter has doomed himself by lying and being threatening. Ruffalo should bully Richter into withdrawing from the commissioner”s race for Ericksen’s district and, hopefully some candidates with good credibility and definately not an RR person, will campaign against Ericksen.

    The RRRA has been nothing but a huge problem for Flagler county by their tactics to disenfranchise thousands of voters from voting in the primary.

  19. Footballen says:

    Jason Lewis is a particularly good prosecutor, Kim better have her quacks in a row.

  20. Ramona says:

    I’m a Democrat and I believe Ronald R. is spinning in his grave. These people do not represent his views – political or otherwise.

  21. Sherry E says:

    Geezer. . . your very clever comments are priceless and Right On. . . thanks for the laugh this morning!

    Love it!

  22. RitaMae says:

    My question is, why is Mr. Ruffalo so interested in a pre-trial hearing for Ms Weeks (a Democrat)?

  23. Commom Sense says:

    These RRR members are rude, dangerous and downright scary.

  24. Rob says:

    Upon reading all the comments to this article, I slowly realized that all comments for Ericksen appear to be well thought out and well written. The comments deploring Ericksen, however, are full of grammatical errors and nonsensical garbage. To me, this seems to show the difference between those who like to follow rules and expectations of themselves as elected officials should be, and those who like to complain about anything and everything in a spiteful and childish manner.

    And yes, I did proof read my comment (pun intended). The intelligent will get it.

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