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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Ray Sansom charged 'private' meeting to Republican Party American Express



Sansomamexcharge Ray Sansom charged a $597 "private" dinner with the Northwest Florida State College trustees and president Bob Richburg to his RPOF-issued credit card, records show.

The meeting played a role in the grand jury investigation of Sansom's dealings with the college. Richburg worked behind the scenes with Sansom on legislation creating a state college system and then proposed a meeting in Tallahassee with the trustees. "That would be great!!" Sansom replied. "We can get a private room on the 6th floor at FSU."

Universtiyclubbillspt The meeting raised Sunshine Law violation questions but state attorney Willie Meggs ultimately did not seek charges. Sansom and the college said it was a "legislative briefing" and pointed to a meeting notice placed in a newspaper back in the Panhandle. 

Records show that Sansom and his guests dined on walnut and baguette crusted grouper and Delmonico steak with Tillamook cheddar & chive whipped potatoes. They had creme brulee and drank three bottles of wine.

Final bill: $597.02.

RPOF Chairman Jim Greer said he did not know about the charge but accepts responsibility for "any and all" charges.

But Greer said that in late 2008 and early 2009, he revamped regulations on who could use a party credit card. Asked if that included Sansom, he replied, "There were some cards in the latter part of 2008 that I discounted the ability to charge on."

Greer said the new policy requires an official to determine if an event would have any value to the party. He said he did not think the dinner would have passed that test.

(Photos: the first is the RPOF expenditure report we found through the Division of Elections Web site.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:48pm]


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