Judge loses bid to have 'Taj Mahal' courthouse charges dismissed
The Judicial Qualifications Commission Friday refused to dismiss charges pending against 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Paul M. Hawkes in connection with the "Taj Mahal" courthouse scandal.
Circuit Judge Paul Backman, chairman of the JQC panel that will hear the case against Hawkes, rejected multiple efforts to derail the charges and also rejected the judge's request to remove a prosecutor who referred to Hawkes as a "stooge" appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush because of his dislike for lawyers and the courts.
Hawkes is accused of conduct unbecoming a judge in connection with lobbying for state money to build a $50 million courthouse many Floridians have dubbed a Taj Mahal.
He is also accused of bullying state employees, destroying public records, attempting to get a free trip for himself and others from a furniture vendor and hiding budget information from his fellow judges.