Candidates announce bid to become Sun City Center’s honorary mayor

Published on: August 17, 2017

South Shore businesses, nonprofits to benefit from mayor’s race fundraising.

Left: Rick Sandlin is running for Sun City Center honorary mayor on behalf of the Sun City Center Area Chamber and My Warrior’s Place. Center: Cheryl DeLeon’s campaign for Sun City Center honorary mayor will benefit the GFWC Ruskin Woman’s Club, the American Legion Post 246 Auxiliary and the Sun City Center Area Chamber. Right: Larry Berman, a candidate for Sun City Center honorary mayor, will be raising funds for the Sun City Center Area Chamber, the Campaign Against Human Trafficking and the South Shore Symphony Orchestra.


The race for the 2018 honorary mayor of Sun City Center will start with a bang Aug. 24 at Schmoozapalooza, a multi-chamber after-hours networking event hosted by the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.

The 4th annual affair is set to take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and includes food, prizes, raffles, games and the Carnival of Candidates — the race’s official kickoff.

“It’s one of our major fundraisers, and half of the money raised goes to the candidates’ local charities of choice,” said Dana Schroeder, CEO of the not-for-profit chamber. “We have three great candidates so far, and who knows who else might throw their hat in the ring?”

Thus far, Larry Berman, of Screen Share I-T, Cheryl DeLeon, of D&L Insurance, and Rick Sandlin, of First Financial Securities have announced their candidacies.

Berman’s charities are the Campaign Against Human Trafficking and the South Shore Symphony Orchestra; DeLeon’s, the Ruskin Woman’s Club (specifically Hacienda Girls Ranch) and the American Legion Post 246 Auxiliary; and Sandlin’s, My Warrior’s Place.

In this race, buying votes is legal.

Each candidate will host fundraisers to collect as much cash as possible, with every dollar raised counting as a vote. The person who collects the largest amount and secures the most votes wins the honorary mayor title, crown, sash and bragging rights. The first runner-up gets the title of deputy honorary mayor, sans the crown and sash.

The honorary mayor or deputy honorary mayor will represent the chamber at specified events throughout the year.

Fifty percent of the proceeds goes to the chamber. The remaining 50 percent goes to the candidates’ charity or charities of choice, to be split at their discretion.

Each office seeker plans to win this thing.

“I’m doing this to promote the chamber, two local charitable organizations that are chamber members and my business,” said Berman, 72, a Kings Point resident and Navy veteran. “I think it’s a win-win-win. And I think I’d look really good in that crown and sash!”

DeLeon, 49, of Ruskin, said there’s no way that’s going to happen.

“I want to benefit the chamber and my community,” said DeLeon, whose husband, Ruben, is a retired Army veteran. “That crown and sash belongs to me. Neither of these guys can touch me. Woman power all the way!”

Sandlin, 69, a resident of Kings Point, isn’t interested in the accoutrements.

“A win for me is a win for veterans,” he said. “I’m not running for the crown or sash. I’m running for them.”

Here’s a rundown of the public fundraising events the candidates have planned thus far.

Larry Berman

• Latitudes After Hours, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 11. Tickets, $10. Appetizers, beverages (alcoholic well drinks, $3) and music by Spirit Entertainment. Raffles and a 50/50.

• Kipp Tarver’s Art Show, 2 to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 16, Sun City Area Chamber Banquet Room. Tickets, $10. Cheese, crackers, fruit tray, mimosas. Live string duet. Art auction with professional auctioneer, 4 p.m.

• Bella Cucina Dinner & Learn, Sept. 24, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Tickets, $30. Five dinner entrée selections, salad, bread, nonalcoholic beverage. Raffles, 50/50. Speakers for his charities.

• PDQ Family Night, Sept. 27, 5 to 9 p.m. Twenty-percent discount with mention of Family Night Campaign.

• Southshore Uncorked, Oct. 12, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets, $25. Cheese, crackers, fruit tray and two pours of wine. Music by singer Eddie Rivers. Raffles, 50/50.

For tickets or information, call 727-420-4527 or email

Cheryl DeLeon

• Luau Party, Sept. 1, 7 to 10 p.m., Harborside Suites at Little Harbor. Tickets, $20. Hawaiian-themed pig roast, catered event. Tropical food, piña coladas. Hula Honeys to perform, DJ, island and reggae music, dancing.

• White Party, Sept. 30, 7 to 10 p.m., Del Webb Southshore Falls HOA clubhouse. Tickets, $25. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live jazz, dancing.

• Booosino, Oct. 6, 7 to 10 p.m., National Cremation and Burial Society. Tickets, $20. Ghoulish gambling games, freaky fun and frightening food. DJ. Costumes welcome.

For tickets or information, call 813-382-2348.

Rick Sandlin

Brigathon, now through Sept. 29.

Here’s your chance to file a citizen’s complaint against family members, friends or co-workers and raise money for My Warrior’s Place in Ruskin. Let’s say you choose to “fine” a friend who is always posting corny jokes on Facebook. One can donate $5 or more online at  to file the complaint and My Warrior’s will send out a warrant in the form of an email. That person’s fine is double whatever you donated.

All fines are due by Sept. 29 or the person charged can attend the Brigathon Court at the Sun City Center Area Chamber’s Banquet Room, starting at 5 p.m.

The event will include a $15 dinner, DJ and dancing.

For complete details, go to the fundraiser tab at My Warrior’s Place website,

My Warrior’s Place and Sandler are selling a discount card worth hundreds of dollars that can be used at designated restaurants and businesses. These include eateries like Pita Kebob, The Fish House, Latitudes Apollo, Old Castle Restaurant and more, plus businesses like Bogg’s Jewelry, Tech Fix, Escape Strategy, City Salon and StoreRight Self Storage. The card can be used over and over through June 30, 2018.

To purchase a card, call 813-597-3429 or 813-321-0880, ext. 1.

The Sun City Center Area Chamber’s honorary mayor’s race ends Oct. 13.