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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Attorney General Pam Bondi's Cayman trip looked like a wedding; many wonder why it wasn't

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It looked like a wedding. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Joseph Photographs)

Sixty or 70 guests at a luxury Caribbean resort, including the governor and a former Tampa mayor. A beaming bride in a white dress with a flower in her hair. A photographer flown in to take pictures of the smiling couple with aqua water behind them.

But Attorney General Pam Bondi says no ceremony took place at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman on Saturday. And many questions remain about when and why Bondi made the last-minute decision not to get married.

Did Bondi bow to conservative critics who felt her jaunt across seas was politically tone deaf? The 46-year-old now says she will be wed in a small, private ceremony at a Tampa-area Baptist church.

Did leaks on gossip blogs and social media sites cause the couple to shy from the publicity? A photo of Bondi serving cocktails during the plane ride to the Cayman Islands quickly made the rounds online.

Or is something more personal and heartbreaking involved? Bondi and her fiance, 62-year-old ophthalmologist Greg Henderson, spent the weekend entertaining family and friends and are still on vacation together. But that hasn't stopped people from wondering whether one of the two got cold feet or if there was a prenuptial disagreement.

The first details discussed publicly came from an unlikely source: state Sen. Paula Dockery, who coincidentally was on the same commercial flight to the Cayman Islands on Thursday. She snapped a picture of Bondi serving cocktails to the wedding party and posted it on her Facebook page.

"She looked so happy and I asked permission to take a picture and post on FB," Dockery told the Times/Herald in a Twitter exchange. "My intent was to share her joy with others."

South Florida blogger Jose Lambiet caught wind of Dockery's post and followed up with a call to the Ritz-Carlton. He said a staffer confirmed the details, which he posted on his Gossip Extra website.

"She said the wedding was at 5 o'clock on Saturday and they were at rehearsal" during the time he called Friday, Lambiet said.

Things changed the next day. Hotel staff denied Bondi or Henderson were guests when Lambiet called again and there was no longer mention of a ceremony.

"Saturday I got to thinking, there is something cooking there," he said.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:45pm]

    

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