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(Florida) Ray Sansom case shocker: Ex-college president flips on him, developer

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-11 11:34 PM
Original message
(Florida) Ray Sansom case shocker: Ex-college president flips on him, developer
Source: St. Petersburg Times

TALLAHASSEE The criminal case against former House Speaker Ray Sansom took a dramatic turn Friday as a co-defendant turned state's evidence and acknowledged that $6 million Sansom put in the state budget was to benefit a developer.

Bob Richburg, former president of the Panhandle college that got the money in 2007, portrayed the idea as one hatched by Sansom and Jay Odom, a friend and political contributor who wanted to use the building for his private jet business.

Asked if he knew at the time whether the building ostensibly an emergency response and training center was being placed at Destin Airport so Odom would benefit, Richburg flatly replied: "Yes."


The scandal broke in late 2008 when Sansom, R-Destin, took a six-figure job at the college on the same day he was sworn in as speaker of the Florida House. He said he saw no conflict of interest.
The Times/Herald then reported a series of stories showing how Sansom used his powerful position as House budget chief to funnel tens of millions to the school, including $6 million for the airport building in 2007.

Read more:


The trial of former House Speaker Ray Sansom is to begin March 21. (AP)

Ray Sansom is the former hand-picked budget chief of then Speaker of the House Marco Rubio.

To put this another way, in 2007, while Marco Rubio was Speaker of the Florida House, his right-hand budget man was busy steering tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to a project benefiting himself and two cronies. It's highly doubtful that Speaker Rubio did not know what his own budget chief was doing.

Interestingly, former Speaker Marco Rubio was busy himself in 2007, using his position to steer $48 million dollars of taxpayers' money to build the lavish Taj Mahal courthouse (1st District Court of Appeal) in Tallahassee. Rubio was even named in circulated e-mails as one of the "top heroes" in securing the legislative funding in a concurrent precipitous downturn in the state's economy. He claims he knew "nothing" about the courthouse funding.

"I have never heard of this list'' of heroes, Rubio said this week. "I was aware of a request to build a new courthouse for the 1st DCA, but it was not something I worked on as speaker.'

Funny, that, because Ray Sansom was Rubio's appropriations chairman at the time, and he remembers it differently:

Rubio, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, has repeatedly said the courthouse was a Senate project and the House knew nothing about the architectural plans. He said it was part of the last-minute House and Senate give and take.

Rubio's appropriations chairman, former Rep. Ray Sansom, remembers it differently.

In a recent interview, Sansom said $7.9 million included in the 2007-08 budget for courthouse "expansion'' was a Rubio priority. He said Rubio confirmed his support for the project several times between November 2006 and the end of the 2007 session.

He said 1st DCA Chief Judge Paul Hawkes frequently visited Sansom's office to remind him the project was a priority of the speaker's. As was Sansom's practice whenever someone said he had the speaker's backing, Sansom said he went to Rubio to make sure.

"I asked, and Speaker Rubio said yes, it was a priority and important to FSU to get a new building too,'' Sansom said, adding that nobody from the Senate contacted him about wanting money for the courthouse.

Gosh, did Mr. Rubio LIE?

Looks to me as if Mr. Sansom didn't hesitate to drop the dime on Rubio.

And today, we hear that one of Mr. Sansom's two co-defendants in the airplane hangar scandal has just dropped the dime on him, just ahead of the court trial.

Hopefully soon, we will air out Mr. Rubio's mountain of dirty laundry, including his frequent use of the GOP American Express Card to pay for personal expenses.

And, hopefully, it will expand to the current leadership of the House (Dean Cannon) and Senate (Mike Haridopolos), along with Sen. John Thrasher and Bill McCollum, in their dealings with Jim Greer, former head of the RPOF.

There is systemic corruption in Tallahassee, and it must be cleaned out.

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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-11 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. Crooks and Liars ..... new reality show
filmed on location in sunny Florida ........
cameo appearance by the number one crook himself ..... RICK SCOTT
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-11 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Be interesting to see what Rubio has to say. Shocked-n-saddened, I'm sure.
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. I'm sure Rubio is "saddened" about his close buddy David Rivera's scandal troubles too.
Two peas in a pod.

Wonder if Rubio and Rivera wriggled out of trouble with that house they co-owned in Tallahassee that was in foreclosure for nonpayment for five months...

Rivera is as crooked as they come.

Source of Rivera's income unclear, October 13, 2010

Over the past seven years, Republican state Rep. David Rivera repeatedly said in sworn documents that his main source of income, outside of his salary from the Legislature, came from consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

But USAID has no record of ever hiring Rivera -- now a candidate for Congress -- or his company.

``We do not have Mr. Rivera nor the corporations you referred to in our records,'' USAID press officer Annette Aulton told The Miami Herald in an e-mail.

When asked by The Herald about his work with USAID, Rivera gave conflicting explanations, first saying he won the USAID contracts through competitive bidding, but later saying he worked only as a subcontractor to other USAID contractors -- whom Rivera would not identify.


Records don't back South Florida GOP House candidate David Rivera's job history, October 12, 2010


Rivera listed USAID as a source of income in financial-disclosure forms filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics from 2003 to 2009. In the documents, required of all elected officials, Rivera said he worked for USAID through a Puerto Rican company called Interamerican Government Relations, performing "international development consulting."

Rivera told the Herald that he started the company with a partner he would not name. Corporate documents in Puerto Rico show only the existence of the company, but does not name the principals.

For the past four years, USAID was the only additional source of income reported by Rivera, aside from his $30,000 annual salary from the Legislature. Since 2003, Rivera has not disclosed how much money he earned from his consulting work, although state ethics rules require lawmakers to report any annual income over $1,000.


Interesting that he landed on the House Foreign Relations Committee...

A $500,000 question over track's payments, December 16, 2010

The Miami-Dade state attorney's office is investigating more than $500,000 in secret payments from the owners of the Flagler Dog Track to a company tied to Congressman-elect David Rivera, The Miami Herald has learned.

Most of the money was paid in early 2008, weeks after Rivera -- then a member of the Florida House of Representatives -- helped run a political campaign backed by the dog track to win voter approval for Las Vegas-style slot machines at parimutuel venues in Miami-Dade County.

The dog track -- now called the Magic City Casino -- made three payments totaling $510,000 to Millennium Marketing, a company currently co-managed by Rivera's 70-year-old mother. Investigators are still trying to determine if Rivera himself received any of the money, or if anything about the transaction was illegal, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Rivera, a Miami Republican elected to Congress on Nov. 2, has previously denied working for the dog track, though he played a public role in supporting the pro-slots referendum campaign. Rivera never reported receiving any money from Flagler during his eight-year tenure in the Legislature.


Rep. Riveras fundraising consultant collected $817,000 in fees since 2006, February 19, 2011

Before launching his bid for Congress last year, David Rivera embarked on a record-breaking campaign for the state Senate, amassing more than $1 million in donations some eight months before Election Day.

Rivera paid $250,000 of that money to his fundraiser and longtime ally, Esther Nuhfer including $150,000 in bonus money, records show all for a political campaign that Rivera never finished.

Rivera dropped that state Senate campaign early to run for Congress. With Nuhfers help, Rivera went on to easily win the congressional race, defeating Republican opponents in the primary and Democrat Joe Garcia in November.

But Riveras nascent Washington career is in jeopardy, as criminal investigators in Miami and Tallahassee comb through his personal finances and campaign accounts including the Senate account that fattened Nuhfers pocketbook. Investigators also are focusing on Riveras tight relationship with Nuhfer.


Rep. David Rivera, political consultant Esther Nuhfer, Marile Lopez and Jorge Luis Lopez at Miami Dade College's 50th anniversary gala in December.
Miami Dade College via Flickr

Rubio and Rivera, the best of buds.

David Rivera

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio campaigns with close pal on shaky political ground, David Rivera, October 21, 2010

Front-running U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio brought his star power Wednesday to one of Miami-Dade's busiest early voting sites to campaign with a close pal on shakier political ground: Republican congressional candidate David Rivera.

Rivera has been stung by reports in the Miami Herald that the U.S. Agency for International Development has no record of his employment, contrary to the sworn financial disclosure forms he filed as a state legislator. Rivera amended the forms to remove income from USAID after last week's Herald story but has refused to say what he does for a living outside his public office.


Rivera and Rubio co-own a home in Tallahassee that was the subject of a foreclosure lawsuit earlier this year after the mortgage went unpaid for five months, according to court documents. The matter was settled.

Asked how Rivera earns money to help pay the mortgage, Rubio said, "You need to ask him."

Maybe Rivera was lucky enough to have a FL GOP American Express Card to use for personal expenses. Rubio's certainly came in handy when he got in a pinch.

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. Seafan, you are a bright spot in an otherwise bleak 48 hours.
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-11 11:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. systemic corruption in Tallahassee is the whole reason most of those fuckers are up there
Edited on Sat Mar-12-11 11:55 PM by nashville_brook
so glad to see this! thank you seafan! this brightens my night.
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boobooday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
4. Meanwhile . . .
Faculty and staff at FSU, where I work, haven't had any kind of raise for 5 years.

This state is dishearteningly, discouragingly corrupt.
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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
5. Last time I visited FL, rampant construction with no regard for wetlands protection made me think
it's a corrupt state. Jebbie was gov then so I wouldn't doubt anything in that state. The developers and their puppets in the state house have ruined the entire state. I remember when it was close to paradise.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Certainly you could not be referring to the same Jebbie Bush our President lauded
as a hero of modern education in Florida.

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ngant17 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:51 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. wetlands protection is bypassed
as pasture/agricultural land, simply by bringing horses on property and letting them graze there. Got this from a Fla. surveyor who knew about this loophole and how it was being exploited by land developers in cohoots with local commissioners/political operatives.

Repugs are using every trick in the book to bypass environmental protection down here. It really is getting worse with the likes of Rubio and Rick Scott in office now.

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wordpix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #8
14. well, there were no horses or grazing I saw---just miles of wasteland
trees clearcut, bulldozers digging and smashing, wetlands diverted for condo and golf course ponds, no vegetation buffers. All these people should be in jail :grr:

I live in CT which is no paragon of environmental virtue but if anyone clearcut trees and leveled and scraped the soil down to the last cm of a stream bank, he would be in serious trouble and likely sued, even with CT's demasculated DEP.
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AC_Mem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
6. Clean up Florida!
Expose the corruption, recall or jail the thieves and let's rebuild our Country.

Shine on,
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onethatcares Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 05:10 AM
Response to Original message
10. thank you seafan,
I cannot tell you how upset this state has been making me lately and I'm glad to see the threat of actuall jail time made
Samson roll. This is exactly what is needed.

Now, if we can only hang prickscott for open meeting violations or IMHO whatever illegalities he's up to as gov I'll be a
happy man.

Again, thanx
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radhika Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
11. Curious they passed on Fast Rail
You'd think these thugs and their cronies could have found a way to tap into that project too.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 07:41 AM
Response to Original message
12. Gasp! -- Rubio and crew corrupt? Quelle shock! Nt
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
13. marco rubio: 'dat sansom guy? nevah heard of da bum!'
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-13-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
15. How sweet it is.
And sometimes, the truth does prevail. I hope that reporters and editors in Florida track down the connection to Rubio. If he lied, it should be determined.
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