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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mel Martinez rejoins country club he once quit for political reasons



Mel Just before he entered politics in 1998, Mel Martinez made sure he eliminated what could have been a liability: his membership with the County Club of Orlando, which once faced criticism for discriminating against women, blacks and Jews.

"I was joining a club that's exclusive in its membership, not inclusive. I viewed their invitation of me as part of their effort to change, but it was not changing," Martinez told the St. Petersburg Times in 2004, when he was running for U.S. Senate. "As a private citizen, it's one thing to join whatever I want to. But I didn't want to be, as a public official, also representative of what that club stood for."

So he quit.

But a year after Martinez quit the Senate, he's rejoined the Country Club of Orlando.

A member informed the Buzz tonight, annoyed that Martinez "trashed" the club for political cover. We reached out to Martinez several weeks ago when he applied for membership and a spokeswoman replied, "declining to comment."

After leaving the Senate, Martinez had worked as a lobbyist and more recently joined JPMorgan Chase as its chairman for Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Carribean.

[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:32pm]


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