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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Insurance agent says he gave Ray Sansom a job as favor to Jay Odom, whom he owed money to



gary-01.jpgA Fort Walton Beach insurance agent told prosecutors yesterday that he gave Ray Sansom a $7,000-a-month job in 2009 as a favor to developer Jay Odom.

Initially the agent, Gary Paulzak, portrayed it as altruism for Sansom, whose life had been "ruined in every way" by the criminal case against him.

But later in an interview Paulzak, acknowledged that he owed Odom money. "I wasn't forthright," he told prosecutors, who had asked him earlier about the debt. He said he assumed that by hiring Ray, the debt would be "lessened."

Sansom tried to get a license but was denied because he was under indictment by a grand jury, along with Odom and ex-college president Bob Richburg. Still, Paulzak continued to pay him $7,000 for nine months.

"The thought behind the job was that Ray lost his career, the news had destroyed him, the government was coming after him, and he needed to start a new career," Paulzak said under oath. "I believe that Jay wanted to help him."

Paulzak continued to pay Sansom even as Sansom tried work with Bay Sand Co., a construction company. Sansom tried to bring in business for the company, Paulzak said but the deal with the owner never worked out. Sansom also tried to work with a coal company as Paulzak continued to pay him.

Paulzak said he had not met Sansom before he hired him. He was interviewed yesterday by State Attorney Willie Meggs and investigator Jim Anderson yesterday under subpoena. Paulzak said he had been questioned by the FBI and did so under the influence of narcotics.

Photo taken from Paulzak's insurance business website.

[Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:05pm]


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