Ethics commission finds probable cause against Miami Rep. Erik Fresen
The Florida Ethics Commission announced Wednesday it has found probable cause to believe that state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, failed to properly disclose his net worth, assets, and liabilities every year from 2008 to 2011.
Fresen's murky finances have been the subject of several reports, including in the Miami Herald, and became an issue in his primary campaign against opponent Amory Bodin.
Fresen said Wednesday the charges were filed against him by an aide to Bodin and he considers them "nothing but a textbook political attack" and he expects to fight the charges. He said the probable cause findings "deal with technicalities and not substantive issues."
"I'm confident that it will be dismissed and we will be responding to it as the process dictates,'' Fresen said. "It's baseless and pointless."
Fresen, a land-use consultant, has been dogged by questions about his personal finances since 2008, when a lender filed a foreclosure suit against Fresen, his wife and his mother. He reported a $357,000 new worth in 2011, according to documents posted on the Integrity Florida web site.
The Ethics Commission will next conduct a further investigation to determine whether he violated state ethics laws by failing to properly report his income and liabilities on his annual state forms.
From the Miami Herald report: The mortgage company filed suit after Fresen failed to make payments in May 2008, court records show.
Fresen says the lender tried to double-bill him for $14,000 in property taxes on the house, taxes he said he paid at closing when he bought the house in 2006. (The home was actually