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Speaker Speaks

January 22nd, 2009 by flanews

Floridas Embattled Speaker of the House is finally speaking. For two months Speaker Ray Sansom dodged the media while a storm of ethics complaints and possible criminal charges began to brew. As Whitney Ray tells us, Sansom says he did nothing wrong and claims several ongoing investigations will clear his name.

Hear it Here: Speaker Speaks

Under mounting pressure for funneling 25 million state dollars to a college before taking a six figure job at the school, House Speaker Ray Sansom finally broke his silence.

I trust that once people have had a chance to review the facts, they will say that I have done nothing wrong, said Sansom.

Northwest Florida State College is keeping the money Sansom helped it secure, but the embattled speaker is quitting his administrative job with the school.

Speaker, if everything with the college was on the level, why did you step down, one reporter asked. Thats a good question. I didnt do anything wrong when I took the job. Every speaker I know has had a job.

But Sansoms leadership job with the legislature may have been compromised as the speaker took extra measures to avoid questions.

Sansom says the controversy surrounding his dealing with the college hasnt affected his ability to lead the house, but some lawmakers disagree.

House Minority Leader Franklin Sands said he never spoke to Sansom during the recent special session.

If I as minority leader didnt speak to the speaker, Id say it could have possible had an affect on it, said Sands.

Whether or not Sansom can lead in the future may be left up to a grand jury who will decide if anyone should face criminal charges.

The 21 member grand jury will be selected Monday in Tallahassee. Two complaints against the speaker are also being considered by the states ethics commission.

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