Victor Crist cleared of ethics complaint
The Florida Commission on Ethics has dismissed an ethics complaint against Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist, who also serves as the Public Transportation Commission Chairman.
The complaint, filed by Louie Minardi, the owner of Red Top Cab Company, states that Crist should not be involved with the PTC’s dealings with rideshare firms because of a conflict of interest.
Crist’s wife, Angela Crist, works at the University of South Florida as the director of the John Scott Dailey Institute of Government. The complaint included affidavits from three cab company employees and the son of another stating that they overheard conversations with Crist in which he acknowledged his wife needs the good will of legislators like state Sens. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, to obtain state grants.
Those senators support ridesharing and the abolition of the PTC, which operates under a state charter and regulates for-hire vehicles.
The commission dismissed the complaint as being “legally insufficient,” saying it would be speculative to draw a conclusion that Crist’s votes on the PTC were intended to benefit his wife.
“It is not a violation of the voting conflict law to vote in a manner that benefits only the employer of one’s spouse,” the dismissal states. .
"They found no evidence, no fault and no jurisdiction, and I was grateful," Crist said Monday.
The 2nd District Court of Appeal also in June dismissed without prejudice a petition against Crist, meaning the case could be brought back to court although that may be unlikely. It declined to issue an opinion on the matter.