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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sansom's Alabama friend knew college traps



Among the honored guests who gathered to watch Ray Sansom become speaker last November was a man who knows exactly what can happen when legislators take jobs at state-supported colleges.

Sethh The distinguished man seated near the front of the House chamber was Sansom's close friend, Alabama House Speaker Seth Hammett.

He has spent the last few years testifying before a federal grand jury and at criminal trials of legislators accused of taking taxpayer money for no-show or low-show jobs with the Alabama community college system. Several lawmakers and the chancellor of the community college system have been sent to federal prison.

On the very day that Hammett came to celebrate his friend's speakership, Northwest Florida State College appointed Sansom to a $110,000-a-year vice presidency.

Could it be possible that Sansom's old friend from just across the state line didn't say anything? Or that any politically attuned person in the Florida Panhandle was not aware of the ugliness that has blown through the Alabama Legislature, where the investigation continues amid widespread publicity? (story here)

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:19pm]


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