Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is this Willie Meggs' 'smoking gun'?

Timesheraldsansomemail An e-mail that recently surfaced in the Ray Sansom investigation appears to have played a prominent role in today's grand jury indictment of developer Jay Odom and the new perjury charge against Sansom

Sansom got the e-mail -- subject line: "meeting with Jay" -- from Northwest Florida State College president Bob Richburg on April 3, 2007, indicating that Odom would use part of the building that Sansom was to obtain funding for.

The budget lawmakers approved a month later included $6 million Sansom appropriated for a "joint use" building to be operated by the college. The e-mail, which contains a cryptic reference to Sen. Ken Pruitt, raises questions about Sansom's insistence that he did not know about Odom’s plans for a taxpayer-funded airplane hangar and overall denials that Odom planned to use the building. (click image to enlarge)

“Jay and I agreed that the project is to be held close until after your actions and until after we receive guidance from you,” Richburg wrote to Sansom's official House e-mail account.

"Throughout our meeting, Jay and I both reminded each other that the program and building need to be instructionally sound and that project needed to be carefully developed so that the Speaker and House would be proud of the work and that the city of Destin would be pleased with the emergency response capability that was being added to the Destin area."

Over the past six months, the Times/Herald has made numerous records requests to the college regarding the project, but that e-mail was not included. Nor were scores of other documents recently turned over to investigators.

A college spokeswoman, Sylvia Bryan, said that while compiling files last month, “archived e-mails were found that contained both materials previously supplied and materials that appeared not to have been previously supplied (and of which college staff were not previously aware.) Thus the college immediately supplied a copy of all the files to all three investigative bodies."

Aside from the grand jury, investigations are under way with the ethics commission and the Florida House.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:03pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours