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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

LeMieux faces scrutiny on his way to Washington



Amid charges of political cronyism and claims George LeMieux was picked to be the governor's proxy in Washington, there is renewed scrutiny of LeMieux's dealings and those of his law firm, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart:

 • While serving as Crist's chief of staff in 2007, LeMieux helped secretly negotiate a lucrative gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional, and has triggered a debate over the expansion of gambling in Florida. LeMieux recently helped negotiate a second compact that the Legislature will consider this fall. He has said the compact will contribute more money to Florida schools and will limit future expansion of gambling.

• Two weeks before LeMieux left Crist's office, Gunster Yoakley landed a $500,000 contract representing the state Department of Transportation on two matters. DOT general counsel Alexis Yarbrough, who signed the contract on Dec. 20, 2007, is the wife of Shane Strum, a deputy chief of staff who reported to LeMieux when he worked for Crist. LeMieux said he played no role in his firm's hiring; DOT has said the firm has special expertise in arcane railroad law. The firm did work for DOT before LeMieux returned there.

(The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau takes a closer look at soon-to-be Sen. LeMieux. Story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:16pm]


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