GOP Candidate Sues Over Hotel Bills Incurred During Trip To Jan. 6 Trump Rally-Turned-Riot

TPM Illustration/ Twitter, @ElectQuinn
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April 28, 2021 11:53 a.m.

When the FBI questioned the Republican congressional candidate Christine Quinn about her attendance at the Jan. 6 Trump rally in Washington, D.C., she was unapologetic. 

“We weren’t burning down businesses or destroying property,” Quinn told TPM. 

“We have people, patriots — tax-paying people that are up there and having fun — singing ‘USA,’ ‘God Bless America,’ and we get called insurrectionist?” she added. “Are you freaking kidding me?” 

Several people died during the mob attack on the Capitol, and 400 people and counting have been charged federally in the breach. Quinn, however, has posted videos from that day cheerily describing her location “on the Capitol steps after the breach, fighting for America.” 

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“This was a peaceful gathering!” she wrote on Jan. 12, adding: “Families were there and enjoying this historic day!” 

Like many attendees in the thousands-strong D.C. crowd that day, Quinn’s still unconvinced that what happened at the Capitol even qualifies as a “riot.” 

“I think it was pre-planned,” she told TPM. “I think it was a set-up.” 

Nonetheless, the twotime Republican congressional nominee, who is running again for Florida’s 14th District in 2022, does have a bone to pick about Jan. 6: She says she’s owed thousands of dollars.

That’s according to a lawsuit Quinn filed recently against a central Florida man, Jeff Hawks, whom she alleges promised to pay her back for travel expenses for the Trump rally.

Hawks is the founder of a Tampa-based group called “Community Patriots.” And, according Quinn’s lawsuit, Hawks promised to Quinn that Community Patriots would cover his tab and that of another man who joined the trip, Carl Prewitt.

Now, Quinn’s suing Hawks and another man she alleges indicated that he’d cover expenses related to the trip, Scott Courtney, demanding $3,700 for hotel rooms, a rental car fee — and the reimbursement of her $250 lifetime Community Patriots membership. 

The ‘Security Detail’ 

What ended with selfies in front of a breached Capitol began, at least in Quinn’s telling, with talk about providing a “security detail” for the event. 

According to her suit, Quinn was informed that Hawks and Prewitt were to be part of the security efforts for the Trump rally. When she learned that money trouble could prevent them from attending, she offered to fly the crew on a private jet and advance the necessary funds for a hotel stay — which she was allegedly led to believe would be repaid. 

“Upon agreement that Mr. Jeff Hawks would pay for the rooms, I booked them online as we sat at the table and continued to discuss our plans for the event,” she alleged in her suit, referring to a Dec. 27 meeting between her, Hawks and Prewitt. 

Hawks did not respond to TPM’s request for comment. But Prewitt, who declined to comment, submitted an affidavit in Quinn’s suit recalling the Dec. 27 meeting. In the statement, he alleged that he told Hawks during the meeting that he wouldn’t be able to afford the trip, to which Hawks allegedly responded, “Don’t worry, the Community Patriots would pay for the trip.” 

Quinn’s suit also cited alleged text messages between her and Hawks following the trip, in which she pressed him for payment and he allegedly offered, in early February, to pay his debt in weekly installments.

Yet months later, Quinn told TPM she still hasn’t received a dime.

“I believed him! And then, to find out that I got duped,” Quinn said of Hawks. “If I can get duped, you can get duped.” 

‘I Didn’t Give It Much Thought’ 

Hawks’ alleged claim about working security for the Jan. 6 event turned out to be bogus, Quinn asserts.

“Why would two Community Patriot guys be a security detail?” she reflected over the phone, months later. “But whatever, I didn’t even give it much thought.” 

And while Hawks has kept a fairly low profile on social media since January, Prewitt’s Facebook page is full of photos documenting the trip, including pictures with VIPs like “Forgiato Blow,” a pro-Trump rapper who appears to have joined the crew on a private jet flight to D.C., alongside Prewitt (front, right) and a man who appears to be Hawks (front, left). 

“Watch out DC, Patriots are coming to support Donald J. Trump!” Prewitt captioned one Jan. 5 post that included photos of the jet.

Posted by Carl Prewitt on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Prewitt also posted a selfie with Ali Alexander, a far-right activist and organizer behind some of the events in D.C. that week: 

Posted by Carl Prewitt on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Quinn declined to discuss the private jet ride with TPM, saying “This has nothing to do with the plane, this has nothing to do with Forgiato Blow.” Though the suit notes her offer of a jet ride, it doesn’t seek compensation for air travel. Still, Quinn acknowledged a prior connection to Forgiato Blow: Her campaign was featured in his September music video, “Trump Train.”

Prewitt also posted pictures from what appear to be Capitol grounds during the riot, in one case mean-mugging for the camera next to a man who appears to be Hawks. “Day 2 in DC was historic!” he wrote of their second day in D.C.

Posted by Carl Prewitt on Thursday, January 7, 2021

On Jan. 7, Prewitt posted a photo of himself, Forgiato Blow and the man who appears to be Hawks in front of a private jet at Manassas Regional Airport. 

“Until next time DC!” he wrote. “Patriots are hearing home, we have work to do!” 

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