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Sansom Tribunal Disbands

February 22nd, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Former House Speaker Ray Sansom resigned his legislative seat on the eve of a scheduled disciplinary hearing over whether he misused his official position. The resignation effectively ended the legislative hearing, so, as Mike Vasilinda tells us, taxpayers will have to wait for criminal proceedings to know the truth about the tangled relationship with a well-healed donor.

In November 2008, Ray Sansom was at the apex of power in Florida. 15 months later he resigned his legislative seat on the eve of disciplinary hearings that he misused his official position.

Sansom’s attorney says the deck was stacked against justice.

“He couldn’t defend himself in this process,” Gloria Fletcher, Sansom’s attorney, said. “There was no way for him to compell the attendants and witnesses.”

At the core of the charges, is a six million dollar appropriation Sansom steered to a hometown college. It appears to be for an airport hangar for a well-healed contributor. Sansom, the college president, and the contributor, all face felony grand theft charges.

“Any violation would have had to have been proved by clear and convincing evidence,” Galvano said. “So that’s where I’m going to leave it and I’m going to respect the resignation.

Sansom joins at least nine other legislators who have chosen to resign rather than face discipline or even expulsion at the hands of their colleagues.

Representative Rich Glorioso regrets lawmakers will not get to the bottom of the story.

“I wanted to see the evidence laid out so we could make an honest decision about what we were going to do,” Glorioso said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have that opportunity today, so it’s going to leave a lot of voids in our mind.”

But the truth, if it’s ever to be known, will have to wait for criminal proceedings.

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