Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Town of Fort White Mayor Sets Up Faux Facebook Page, Makes It Look Like the Town Endorsed Him 

Faux Fort White faux Facebook page by Mayor Ronnie Frazier

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – At the 12th hour, Fort White Mayoral race enters another dimension when Mayor Ronnie Frazier endorses himself on a Facebook page he set up to look like it was the Town's Facebook page. He said it was taken down, but this morning, it was not.


The Town of Fort White is a sleepy little town at the South End of Columbia County. In 2018 the Town had a population of about 602.

The Town is ruled by a charter, which was enacted in 1957. While there was talk that the charter was amended a couple of times since then, the Florida Department of State (DOS) was unable to find any records verifying this, and the Town is now operating under 1957 rules.

In August 2018, Ronnie Frazier was elected the Mayor of Fort White.

In January 2020, there were 430 registered voters in the Town.

During 2020, the Town passed an ordinance making the Town's election cycle concurrent with the general election. At the same time, it passed the baton on to the Columbia County Supervisor of Elections to handle the election.

This year's election has two qualifiers for mayor, Mayor Ronnie Frazier and Town Councilman James Richardson.

After Councilman Richardson qualified, Mayor Frazier, with the help of Town Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr., tried unsuccessfully to get Mr. Richardson thrown off the Council.

Mayor Frazier Starts a Town of Fort White FB Page - Or Did He?

On January 16, 2020, Mayor Ronnie Frazier started a Facebook page called "Town of Fort White."

Faux Town of Fort White faux Facebook page information
All the information provided by Mr. Frazier's faux FB page indicates this page belongs to the Town. This is the FB display of the information section of the page.

Mr. Frazier's website used the Town logo and the Town historical marker.

For contact information, Mr. Frazier provided a link to the Town website as well as the contact phone number for the Town.

Instead of his personal email address, Mr. Frazier provided his official email address: mayor@fortwhite.com.

Mr. Frazier gave this additional information: "We have created this page in efforts to keep the community engaged and involved in the hard work your council is doing for our great little town..."

There is no disclaimer suggesting that Mr. Frazier's FB page was not that of the Town of Fort White.

Town of Fort White website home page
Town of Fort White web page graphical section.

Conversation with Mr. Frazier

Yesterday afternoon, your reporter spoke with Mayor Frazier about his Facebook page.

Mr. Frazier said he made the page back in January before he found out the mayoral election would happen. "It was going to be a community page," he said.

Mr. Frazier said he requested guidance from Town Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr.

Your reporter asked what Mr. Koberlein said.

Mr. Frazier responded, "It's not trademarked. That little symbol on there, it's not trademarked. The Town of Fort White don't have that trademarked, so I did no unlawful actions. I trust Fred. Fred is the Town Attorney. He done looked it up. He told me unless it's trademarked. I broke no laws."

Mr. Frazier added, "It was my Facebook page. I figured you could share whatever the hell you want to share on a Facebook page. It ain't really a big deal."

Your reporter pointed out that the FB page said, "Town of Fort White and the Mayor of Fort White."

Faux Town of Fort White Facebook page endorcing Ronnie Frazier for Mayor
Mr. Frazier's October 23 FB post looks like it came from the Town and looks like an endorsement.

Mr. Frazier answered, "After I thought about it – That's what I wanted it to look like because I want people to go on it as a community page... There was no intentions to make a Facebook page to look like the Town of Fort White."

He continued, "I wanted it to look like the Town of Fort White because I want people to like it so that they can stay informed with what's going on because they won't get out of their houses to come to the meeting."

Mr. Frazier said, "There was no intentions to mislead anybody, but after Fred [Town Attorney Koberlein] said, 'There's no unlawful intentions here; it could be misleading.'"

Your reporter again mentioned that the FB page looked like it was the Town's FB page.

Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr.
Attorney Fred Koberlein (file)

Mr. Frazier said, "Exactly. He [Koberlein] said, 'Just go delete the thing or put a post on it that this is an unofficial site for the Town of Fort White and leave it that way.'"

Mr. Frazier continued, "I said I would just delete it and create it again after the election."

Your reporter asked, "So when did you take it down?

Mr. Frazier said, "About three or four days ago...  I didn't want it to look like Ronnie's Facebook page. I wanted it to be the Town of Fort White."

Mr. Frazier said he wanted to use the page to keep the citizens informed.

Your reporter asked, "So Fred [Koberlein] told you to take it down?"

Mr. Frazier answered, "No, he said I could leave it up if I want to."

Mr. Frazier added, "I don't have to have their [Town Council] permission to do my own Facebook thing."

Your reporter asked Mr. Frazier if he had ever looked at the Town website.

Mr. Frazier said he thought it had "the springs or somethin' on it."

Your reporter said, "I think if you look at the site, it's copyrighted."

The Town website clearly states it is copyrighted.

Mr. Frazier said, "That gives you somethin' to do. I'm not goin' to check into it. Even if you found that I broke the law, I didn't mean to." He continued, "What is the harm of usin' a picture of the town of Fort White and creatin' a community Facebook page?"

Mr. Frazier finished up, "I think if you research it, you'll see it says somewhere, 'It was created by Ronnie Frazier.'"

It doesn't.

Your reporter thanked Mr. Frazier for talking with him and wished him good luck.

Mr. Frazier said, "I appreciate it. I hope I'll still be the Town Mayor after the election."

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