TALLAHASSEE — An ethics complaint against Sen. Mike Fasano has been dismissed, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Florida Commission on Ethics.
Michael Rossi, a retired Pasco County sheriff's lieutenant who filed a complaint, said Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was serving spaghetti at a Pasco event where Rossi was selling gold.
Rossi was speaking out against Republican incumbent Sheriff Chris Nocco, whom Fasano supports.
Fasano held out his hand for a shake and said, "I hear you've been bad-mouthing the sheriff. That's not going to be good for business."
"I thought that was highly inappropriate for him to say as a senator," said Rossi, a supporter of Nocco's Democratic opponent, Kim Bogart. "He should respect that you have the right to support who you want."
Fasano gave a similar account but said, "In no way was I trying to relay a message of intimidation."
Fasano reached his term limit in the Senate, but he announced plans this week for another House run. This is the second complaint against him during his 18 years in the Legislature, he said.
"It's part of being an elected official, and you just have to deal with it," he said.
Fasano was cleared of a 2007 complaint that he tried to stop one company from printing the state's driver handbooks because Fasano's business partner lobbied for a competitor. Attorney's fees ran close to $500, he said.