RPOF cuts ties to Sansom's friend Odom
The Republican Party of Florida is no longer contracting jet services from Jay Odom, the Panhandle developer embroiled in controversy with Rep. Ray Sansom. Contracts with B&J of Destin Inc., Bay Hauling and Tank Corp., Aerospace Services, and Panhandle Aviation & Trans Service, which were utilized in conjunction with Mr. Odom’s aircraft services, were canceled.
RPOF Chairman Jim Greer said the move was part of a broader cost-saving effort. But he acknowledged "appearances" were a factor. "I'm reading every day there are issues with Jay Odom. I just didn't think the Party should be involved in anything like that."
The Times/Herald profiled Odom this weekend (Greer declined to talk about him at the time). Odom first proposed a $6 million taxpayer-funded airport hangar at Destin Airport. But Sansom, R-Destin, inserted $6 million into the 2007 education construction budget for Northwest Florida State College to build a first-responder center at the site Odom was going to use.
Sansom has said that he was unaware that Odom sought money through the city of Destin. However records obtained by the Times/Herald show that the request was sent to him in January 2007. Click here for a memo that was sent to the city from Odom's lobbyist, Kassy Keyes. The budget request was filed by Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, who did not get the request from the city, but she said she was filing the House companion for Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.