Senate to decide punishment in Norman ethics case
The Florida Senate will rule on a punishment for Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, who faces charges that he failed to give timely disclosure of a $500,000 gift from a local business man to his wife.
The Florida Commission on Ethics agreed Friday morning to forward the case to the Senate, which could impose a reprimand, a fine or a removal from office. The panel found probable cause in February to show Norman should have disclosed the gift when he was running for Senate in 2010.
Norman also failed to disclose his interest in an Arkansas home and two boats that were bought with the money from the deal.
But Norman's attorney, Mark Levine, insists that Norman's wife is an independent business woman who doesn't update her husband on every financial transaction.
"There was no corruption here, no mis-intent, no bribery," Levine said. "We're left here with a simple form-filing mistake that people do all the time."
A Hillsborough County attorney advised Norman, who was then a county commissioner, that he didn't have to disclose, Levine said.
The charges have dogged Norman for two years, and he's eager to move on, Levine said. Norman is up for re-election this year.
"He's lost sleep over this, certainly," Levine said.