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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former state Sen. Mandy Dawson arrested on federal income tax charge



Sun Sentinel: Former South Florida state legislator Mandy Dawson was arrested Wednesday on a federal income tax charge, and she is scheduled to go before a judge in Orlando later Wednesday for her initial court appearance.

The allegations are a troubling epilogue to the 16-year political career of the groundbreaking politician. Broward County’s first black woman in the state Legislature, she came to be known as a champion of the poor and the medically needy, serving six years in the state House followed by a decade in the state Senate. Dawson, a Democrat whose district stretched from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach Gardens, was pushed out of office in 2008 by term limits.

Some criminal charge against Dawson had long been expected since federal investigators have been examining her dealings since at least 2009.

Her name surfaced in a federal public corruption probe headed by the U.S. Department of Justice that centered on Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor who was a major player in the political fundraising world.

When he began cooperating with investigators, Mendelsohn told them that he had passed along $82,000 in payments to Dawson through an intermediary between 2003 and 2005, when she was a senator. He did it, he said, in hopes that she wouldn’t vote against legislation he was pushing.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:59pm]


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