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Miami lawmaker gets spoofed into calls on casino bill

A pro-casino group called hundreds of constituents of Miami Rep. Carlos Trujillo last week using the caller ID of of the Miami Republican's Tallahassee office.

After more than 250 calls came into Trujillo's office at a rapid fire pace, and another 50 people  left messages on his overwhelmed office line, the House asked launched Capitol Police to investigate the alleged unauthorized use of the lawamaker's state office number.

"People would call me and say, 'Stop calling me on behalf of the casinos,''' Trujillo said. "I'd say what do you mean. They'd say they were called and, if they support [House bill] 487, then please call their representative."

It is not clear whether the practice, known as spoofing, is illegal. The state banned the practice of misusing caller ID in 2008, but a federal court in Miami overturned the law in 2009. Trujillo said he believes it is still on the books. 

Trujillo said he heard from people who were called on their home phone lines, their cell phones and their businesses. One woman called and asked him to stop calling her elderly mother, who had received several calls from his phone number.

He said the biggest challenge was trying to explain to people, especially the senior citizens that don't speak English, that some kinds of technology can mask the actual phone number.

"Trying to explain to somebody's grandmother that it's really not you calling their phone and her looking at her caller ID and saying, 'No. It's really you. I see your number," was "the hardest part,'' he said. Often, he said, he'd just have to give up "and tell them he'd try to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Trujillo was targeted because he is one of 10 members of the House Economic Affairs Committee, which is expected to take up House Bill 487 sponsored by Rep. Erik Fresen next week. The measure will bring three mega resort casinos to Florida and impose a new regulatory structure over gambling in Florida.

Cory Tilley, spokesman for Genting Americas, which is one of the promoters of the casino legislation, said the company had no knowledge of the phone calls.

Trujillo said "his mind is made up'' to oppose the bill "unless something drastic changes with the way it is written -- which has been known to happen." But the tactics, he said, have further soured him on the prospects of the bill.

"It's win at all costs -- rape, pillage, whatever it takes to get it done,'' he said. "Which also shows you that maybe there is something that some people are missing who are supporting this."

Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, chairman of the committee, said he has also received calls from constituents who received postcards in the mail urging them to call him to seek his support for the bill. The measure backfired, however, he said as the nearly 50 calls he received came from people urging him to oppose the bill.


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Jill Binder

That seems like a spoof of a spoof. The opposition did it to make Genting look bad. It's an old campaign trick

Jarvis Jones

The real story here is why Trujillo would oppose a bill that will add tens of thousands of good, NEW jobs to Miami. Political tricksters aside, Trujillo should be more concerned what his constituents will say if he prolongs the pain and suffering of this community by making the wrong decision.


Classic dirty trick by the NoCasinos group and their fearless leader Dan Gelber. When you dont have a compelling argument you do crap like this

Carl Jones

This sounds like crap to me. I'm in technology and I wasn't aware group spoof calling existed. I don't believe Trujillo. He is lying.

Samantha Quinn

Pro-gaming groups have been pouring money into lobbying the right way. This doesn't sound like a trick they would pull? Why jeopardize the bill for something as trivial as a few hundred phone calls. This is just a front to make the pro-casino groups look bad.

Jill Binder

Carlos Trujillo is lying and should be voted OUT. THis is a publicity sham.

Robert Jenkins

Hmmmmm! Unless there is a drastic verbage change, really means; Unless "I" receive a large amount of untracable cash...

Sgt. Paine

Total BS
This did not happen
Miami Herald got punked


Trujillo trying to be relevant and draw attention to himself. Sad

Susan Spector

This is a shameless political trick being played by special interest groups that don't want the casino bill passed. Trujillo is in on it. He has been paid off big time by lobbyists.
It is a crime against Florida to try to keep a bill that will reform gambling from passing when we need the money and the jobs more than ever.

Henry Wilkerson

I already mentioned that I pressed the button and got the representative on the phone. He said he "didn't care what I thought" and hung up the phone. What kind of representation is that? Why would anyone oppose a bill that can return our state to prosperity? I guess money can buy anything these days.

Gloria Ruiz

These so called robocalls have become so annoying that political types use them to foster the opposite of what the call says. Ergo, it is an anti-casino group that launched the trick. They are desperate and their pockets are full of Seminole and Disney money. I agree that this is a crime against the people of Florida and Trujillo should be ashamed for playing along with it.


In your face corruption. Carlos Trujillo has some pair. When are we gonna get smart and vote these crooks out of office? Isn't it bad enough they're pocketing all the money that could be used for improvements out in the community?



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