Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Charlie Justice blasts U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young for hiring son's girlfriend

In 2007, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young gave his son's girlfriend a job as an aide in his Seminole office.

It raised few eyebrows then. But now Democrat Charlie Justice is seizing on the hiring to again question the ethics of the entrenched congressman he faces in the Nov. 2 general election.

The aide, case assistant Ashley Young, is now a member of the Young family. She married Billy Young on Oct. 4, 2008.

Federal law bars U.S. officials from employing immediate family. However, members of Congress can continue to employ people if they marry into the family after being hired.

Ashley Young, who earned $41,000 last year, was hired in July 2007.

"This is Bill Young's decision whether he wants to follow the spirit of the law or continue to spend taxpayers' money on family — which is what he does," said Justice, a state senator from St. Petersburg.

The latest attack on Young hit close to home, and he lashed out at Justice for orchestrating the kind of negative attacks that Justice bemoaned in his own 2006 run for Florida Senate.

"I'm expecting his next complaint about Ashley will be that when her twin daughters died in January, she took a week off," Young said, referring to losing his granddaughters shortly after their birth.

The hiring was cleared verbally by the ethics committee office, Young said. Though the congressman said the couple "knew each other," Young said he was unsure if Ashley and Billy Young were dating when she was hired.

A website for their wedding includes a description of how they met, a subsequent date at a June 2006 concert and then a July 4 beach outing a month later.

"Ever since that day we have been inseperable! (sic)" the site says.

Ashley Young, 26, who is listed under her maiden name of Abreu in staff directories, was hired through a connection with a former staffer via the University of South Florida alumni network, Young and chief of staff Harry Glenn said.

That staffer was ill and needed a temporary replacement. Then the woman died suddenly of a brain tumor and Abreu — who had worked for a social service agency the prior year — stayed.

"It became clearer to the congressman and us after a couple months they liked the job she was doing," Glenn said.

Justice said the way Young conducts his office is a legitimate issue that Young is trying to divert attention from.

In 2008, the St. Petersburg Times reported that companies employing Billy Young and a brother had benefited from millions in appropriations earmarked by Young, R-Indian Shores.

This year Young was cleared in a separate investigation into earmarking and lobbyists.

And Justice, a University of South Florida adviser, said in 2009 that he saw no problem in a lawmaker seeking money for the school if the lawmaker won election after being hired, as he was.

Since Young announced in February he would run again, Justice has tried to invigorate a campaign that faces challenges against the 20-term incumbent. Justice largely has attacked Young's ethics. Young has fired back that Justice should be talking about real issues like health care.

Young, who traditionally avoids debating challengers, enjoys a fundraising advantage over Justice. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also hasn't included Justice in its list of top House challengers that already includes two Floridians and two rounds of announcements.

But last month, Young sent a message to supporters saying that while he hadn't advertised on radio and television much in years past, Justice's criticism "will require our response."

"I don't know what there would be to debate," Young told the Times. "As an incumbent state senator, you'd think there'd be an issue to debate."

David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779.

Charlie Justice blasts U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young for hiring son's girlfriend 06/25/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 27, 2010 10:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 5 things to do under $5: Where to see solar eclipse, Bucs training camp


    1 Solar eclipse: Turn around, bright eyes. Monday brings a total eclipse of the sun, and you'll need protective eyewear to see it. The bay area won't be plunged into darkness for a few minutes like the middle of the country, but with solar lenses you can see this rare event. The Museum of Science and Industry, …

    This photo shows a “diamond ring” shape during the 2016 total solar eclipse in Indonesia. For the 2017 eclipse over the United States, the National Science Foundation-funded movie project nicknamed Citizen CATE will have more than 200 volunteers trained and given special small telescopes and tripods to observe the sun at 68 locations in the exact same way.
  2. Florida man has some of Princess Di's wedding cake, plus 13,000 other royal items (w/photos)

    Human Interest

    John Hoatson recalls the day it all began with perfect clarity.

    John Hoatson poses with a photo taken in 2006 when he met Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the Duchess of York, for tea at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.
  3. Pasco doubles tourist tax to finance sports complex


    DADE CITY — Pasco County is doubling its tourist tax to 4 percent to build an indoor sports complex in Wesley Chapel and improve its outdoor boat ramps in west Pasco.

    Pasco County's plan to double its tourist tax on overnight accommodations to 4 percent is intended to help finance a $25 million sports complex in the Wiregrass Ranch area of Wesley Chapel. It  would include a 98,000-quare-foot multipurpose gymnaisium of eight basketball courts and dedicated space for gymnastics, cheerleading and a fitness center. Shown here is the four-court fieldhouse with 50,000-square-feet of space for competitions at  Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.  Times photo by James Borchuck (2007)
  4. Les Miller on Charlottesville: 'This is not what we should about'


    TAMPA -- In the aftermath of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., and ahead of today's continued conversation on Tampa's Confederate monument, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller on Wednesday looked to inspire unity in an invocation that a colleague called "inspirational."

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller prayed for unity during Wednesday's Hillsborough County Commission meeting, following the violent protests in Charlottesville that left 19 injured and one dead.
  5. Here's what Florida's gubernatorial contenders say about removing Confederate monuments from public lands


    Gwen Graham: "Our state's role in the Civil War and the deplorable promotion of slavery still cause deep pain today. We all have a responsibility to combat racism and hate wherever it …

    Protesters climb the Confederate Memorial in Tampa on Sunday night after more than 200 people marched down the streets of downtown Tampa to protest white supremacy. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Hillsborough Flaggers plan are standing guard now to protect the statute.