Anti-mask FL GOP bookkeeper dies of COVID — and leaves party without access to finance software

Anti-mask FL GOP bookkeeper dies of COVID — and leaves party without access to finance software

After spending months railing against COVID-19 precautions and criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci, a Republican Party official in Florida passed away this week — leaving his county-level GOP organization without access to critical financial accounts.

Gregg Prentice, 61, served as accountant for the Hillsborough County GOP and also chaired the organization's committee for election integrity. A software engineer by trade, Tampa Bay's local Patch outlet reported that he built and maintained the local Republican party's campaign finance software last year and was responsible for filing its monthly reports to the Federal Elections Commission.

A FEC filing from the surviving members of the organization claims that Prentice died without sharing login information for these accounts, or any sort of instructions for how to use them. The letter also tells the regulatory agency it will likely need more time to complete a report on its August fundraising numbers, and foreshadows trouble compiling the local party's financials for future months as well.

As a Political Party Committee, we file our FEC reports on a monthly basis. For several years we have been submitting the reports electronically, and for over a year we have done this with software developed by one of our members, Gregg Prentice. Gregg's software converted data from our Quickbooks accounting software to supply the information needed by the FEC.

Unfortunately, Gregg passed away suddenly from Covid 19 on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Gregg did not share the software and instructions for its use with our officers. We will have to enter the August data manually, and according to the information we have received from our FEC analyst, Scott Bennett, we may likely have to re-enter the data from our first 7 months of 2021. We will be struggling to get all of this entered in the proper format by our deadline on September 20, but we will try to do so with our best effort.

In addition to his role compiling the Hillsborough County GOP's financials, Prentice spent most of the past year fearmongering about COVID-19 vaccines, mask mandates and other pandemic safety measures. Like many other conservatives in public life, he took aim in particular at White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, writing on Facebook that America needed to "End Faucism." He also argued that "we need more socialist distancing than we do social distancing."

Prentice's death has also opened up a firestorm of conspiracy theories from other local Republican Party officials, including one who called COVID-19 a "medically engineered virus" and suggested — without evidence — that his death was the result of wrongdoing on behalf of the hospital he was being treated at.

Jason Kimball, a fellow Hillsborough County GOP member and close friend of Prentice, even suggested that Tampa General Hospital was performing intubations illegally, Patch reported. Kimball, whose LinkedIn profile says he is a pharmacy technician at a local Walmart, called the procedure a "high-fatality protocol" in comments to the Tampa City Council.

"ER and ICU doctors are criminals and murderers," Kimball wrote on Facebook. "They intubate everyone and stick them on a ventilator for no reason, just 'out of precaution' as the doctor told me — without consent from the family. Tampa General Hospital is evil."

At least one council member interrupted his comments to denounce the conspiracies.

"I rarely chime in when it comes to people's comments, but that one I think is extremely dangerous," John Dingfelder said. "I think it's a dangerous comment to be spreading to this community, telling people they shouldn't go to Tampa General Hospital."

"That was a very dangerous comment from that individual. People listen to ridiculous comments without doing the right research."


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