6 p.m. UPDATE: The following joint statement was just issued by the office of Phillip Anderson and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce:
“Following an unfortunate incident at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidate Forum this past Friday, the Chamber and Phil Anderson’s campaign have come to terms with the matter and look forward to placing it behind us in an effort to bring our community together. The Chamber thanks Mr. Anderson and Ms. Sprinkel, the two mayoral candidates, for participating in the forum.”
5 p.m. UPDATE: We were just told that Anderson’s team and the Chamber are working on a joint statement that will be released later today.
“Can you tell me what happened at the Chamber debates? I’m really confused but someone apparently made a threat or something.”– Winter Park Resident
The City of Winter Park is currently ramping up for a Mayoral Election on March 9, 2021. The two qualifying candidates, Phil Anderson and Sarah Sprinkel, participated in their first public debate in January and our friends at the32789.com posted a great roundup of takeaways from the event.
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce (Facebook | Website) hosted a mayoral candidate forum last week, moderated by Lee Steinhauer. Since the forum aired, both the Chamber and Sprinkel have made public statements concerning Anderson’s behavior, following a question that was submitted by a member of the public ahead of the event and posed by Steinhauer on their behalf, that accused sitting commissioners of criminal collusion with developers – namely the now-defunct Henderson Hotel project.
You can skip ahead to the 1:17 mark to hear the question for yourself.
As seen in the video, Anderson found the question to not only be distasteful but to be slightly litigious, if not outright defamation. Following the conclusion of the forum, representatives of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce allege that Anderson then approached Chamber President and CEO Betsy Gardner Eckbert in a threatening way, which was not caught on camera.
The Chamber has since issued the following statement on its Facebook page.
Sprinkel followed suit, with the following message on her social channels.
A request to Anderson’s office for a comment on this story had not been answered at the time of this post but we will update this page the moment we have it in-hand.
UPDATE: Click HERE to read Anderson’s full statement.