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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Third time's the charm: Haridopolos fixes disclosures again, wants new ethics law



Senate President Mike Haridopolos plans to push a new law that would require the state’s ethics commission to review each legislator’s financial disclosure forms to spot troubles.

Financial-disclosure problems have plagued Haridopolos, who acknowledged Wednesday that, for the third time, he recently corrected his forms to reflect potential income — this time from a rental home in Mount Dora.

Earlier this month, he was admonished by his rules chairman for "inadvertently" failing to disclose income and assets, including the Mount Dora home.

Haridopolos said he wants his new proposed bill to make sure other legislators don’t end up in the same jam as he did. It would give lawmakers more guidance about how and what to disclose, he said.

Haridopolos, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, said he didn’t disclose the possibility of income from his Mount Dora home because he’s not making money on it. The monthly payments exceed his rental income, he said.

“I’m losing more than $14,000,” he said. "I don’t think that losing money counts as income, but I checked with my attorney and we decided to amend the forms out of an abundance of caution.”

Haridopolos acknowledged he made the change March 17 after inquiries from the Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times. The amended forms don’t disclose the rental income – which he said is just over $1,100. His monthly payments on the home weigh in at $2,400.

Haridopolos said his new ethics legislation, which is being drafted, should be published Monday and taken up by the Rules Committee next week.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:34pm]


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