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Dad’s Company Defends Patrick Murphy’s Nantucket Weekend on Dad’s Boat

Coastal Construction is Murphy's biggest financial supporter

Patrick Murphy
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Fla.) / AP
July 7, 2016

A top executive at a company owned by Patrick Murphy’s father came to the defense of the Democratic Senate hopeful for his weekend yacht trip, asking the Washington Free Beacon, 'What’s so wrong about taking the Fourth of July weekend off?"

Murphy was spotted in Nantucket, Massachusetts, during the Fourth of July weekend along with his father Tom Murphy’s luxury boat, a 97-foot yacht named Cocktails. Meanwhile, the district Murphy represents in the House of Representatives was in a state of emergency due to a toxic algae outbreak that forced usually crowded beaches to shut down.

The report prompted Dan Whiteman, vice chairman of Coastal Construction, a major Florida corporation owned by Murphy’s father, to email the Free Beacon to defend his boss’s son.

'Maybe you should do some fact checking before criticizing Patrick about the algae bloom in Florida," Whiteman wrote using his Coastal Construction email address. 'He was holding congressional hearings on it while [Sen. Marco] Rubio was out running for president and [Gov. Rick] Scott was ignoring the situation. Once it became the Crusis [sic] it now is they showed up for their photo opportunities."

'Also, what’s so wrong about taking the Fourth of July weekend off?" Whiteman asked.

The Murphy campaign did not respond to an email asking whether it agreed with Whiteman that there is nothing wrong about 'taking the Fourth of July weekend off." The campaign still has not responded to emails sent earlier this week asking for confirmation of Murphy’s trip to Nantucket.

Coastal Construction has contributed $180,000 to Murphy’s political career, but Whiteman’s ties to Murphy go deeper than his position at Coastal Construction.

CBS4 revealed last month that Whiteman was the president of Coastal Environmental Services, an affiliated oil skimming company that Murphy used to label himself a small business owner in prior political campaigns.

Whiteman maintained his vice chairman position in Coastal Construction during the brief time that Coastal Environmental Services was in operation.

Whiteman did not reply to a follow-up email on the subject.

Vessel tracking services show that Murphy’s father's yacht—which comes equipped with two wave runners, a deck jacuzzi, two 61-inch televisions, an exercise gym, and a nine-person crew—is still docked in Nantucket.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which was first to flag Murphy’s trip to Nantucket, was shocked to hear that Coastal Construction was defending the trip but not the campaign.

'So let me get this straight–Patrick Murphy’s campaign is too cowardly to respond to requests for comment so now they start using his daddy’s company to stick up for him?" said Ian Prior, the group’s communications director.

'The bottom line is that everything about Patrick Murphy is phony," Prior said. 'He pretends to care about a crisis in his congressional district, but it’s just not as important to him as being able to spend the weekend in Nantucket sipping Midori Sours on a yacht that costs $100,000 to fill with gas, which is roughly $58,000 more than the average salary in Florida."

America Rising, another Republican group that opposes Murphy, was less surprised by the email from Whiteman.

'It’s hardly surprising that Privileged Patrick’s most vocal supporters are on his father’s payroll," said press secretary Amelia Chassé. 'The fact that his daddy’s yachting buddies are leaping to his defense only proves how out-of-touch Patrick Murphy is."

Murphy’s Republican opponent in the Senate race, Marco Rubio, spent his Fourth of July weekend in Florida with his family and attended multiple public events.