Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Mel Sembler Building--a $113 million shrine to a sitting ambassador


by Wes Fager


On June 7, 2002 about 25 former clients from Straight, Inc. flew in from all over the country and paid the toll to cross the causeway out to the exclusive, ocean-side home on Treasure Island, Florida of Straight founders Ambassador Mel Sembler and his wife Betty. The St. Pete Times sent a reporter to cover the protest but the story was killed and the Times was given exclusive selling rights in Mel Sembler shopping centers. In those days St. Pete Times chairman Andy Barnes was working with other Semblerlite Republicans to try to entice the national Republican Party into holding its national convention in Tampa and in his St. Pete Times Forum.Mel Sembler is currently suing Ray Bradbury, the man on the left, who is a former Straight client and employee. Sembler may have committed perjury in his deposition when he did not mention "Straight" as a reason, in his opinion, that Bradbury has protested him all these years. Meanwhile Congressman Bill Young worked to appropriate $50 million to repair the causeway out to Sembler's home (and remove the toll), and another $113 million to name a monument in Rome after Mel Sembler and himself. The Washington Post has given Mr. Sembler its 2005 NRA award (Narcissism Run Amok).


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