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College Asked to Return Tainted Appropriation

April 22nd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

State lawmakers are pushing the trustees of a Panhandle college to return a tainted six million dollar appropriation that became the grounds for two indictments. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the six million was disguised as a classroom complex when it was really destined to build an airplane hanger for a political crone.

Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg and former House speaker Ray Sansom were indicted last week for allegedly disguising six million dollars for an aircraft hanger for a friend as a class room project.

Now the prosecutor is calling for the six million to be returned.

We looked at the appropriation and the way it was done, truthfully, if people want to do whats right, that six million dollars ought to be returned to the people of the state of Florida, state prosecutor Willie Meggs said. Its their money.

The Governor says the prosecutor is on track.

I think hes right, Crist said. It seems justified.

A bid for the project clearly shows the intent is to build a hanger.

While lawmakers here fight over every nickel and dime, that six million dollars is enough money to let 100 teachers keep their job.

College trustees are holding an emergency meeting next Tuesday. Hometown Senator Don Gaetz says the six million is poisoning the air in Tallahassee.

This is a toxic issue right now, Gaetz said. Its an issue that keeps coming up whenever Northwest Florida issues come up. I think it would be the better part of valor to say, gosh, you know were not going to go forward with the project now.

Construction on the hanger hasnt started yet, but the college has spent 300 thousand dollars on design. Thats money tax payers may never see again.

The Grand Jurors also took aim at the state budgeting process, saying it needs to be more open. That is a message lawmakers are ignoring.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, Education, Legislature, Sansom, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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