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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Businessman links Jim Norman to Ralph Hughes money



John Stanton, a longtime business associate of the late Ralph Hughes, says Hughes' son called him shortly after his father's 2008 death seeking advice on getting back money his father had given to Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman. The Hughes money lies at the heart of a lawsuit filed by Kevin Ambler, who lost the Republican primary for the District 12 state Senate seat to Norman. Ambler's suit says Norman shouldn't have been qualified to run in the primary because he didn't disclose a nearly $500,000 loan from Hughes that Norman's wife used to buy a house in Arkansas. Stanton said he personally never saw any documentation of the transaction, but if Hughes did give Norman the money he did it with good intentions and not for political favors. "Ralph thought of Norman as a son," Stanton said. He did, though, question why Norman would accept the money. "I've had breakfast with Alex Sink and Bill McBride. You can't buy them an omelette," he said. "My view of a politician would be to not take any money from anybody to not raise questions about your motives." Read more about it here.

[Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 11:50am]


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