Florida Sen.-elect Jim Norman faces another ethics complaint

TAMPA — Another area resident has filed an ethics complaint against state Sen.-elect Jim Norman.

The most recent complaint, sent to the Florida Commission on Ethics late last week by Brandon resident Byron Dean, charges that Norman violated state law by not disclosing a complete picture of his finances.

"I don't think we need that kind of politics in power," Dean said.

After losing the District 12 Republican primary election to Norman, state Rep. Kevin Ambler sued to get Norman off the November ballot. Ambler claimed that Norman was not qualified to run because his financial disclosure form did not include a house in Arkansas that Norman's wife, Mearline, bought with $500,000 from influential businessman Ralph Hughes.

A Leon County judge agreed with Ambler and booted Norman off the ballot. But Norman won an appeal and on Nov. 2 became the next senator in District 12, which includes northern Hillsborough and central Pasco counties.

Ambler said questions about Norman's candidacy are now up to Senate leaders, the ethics commission and the FBI, which is investigating Norman's relationship with Hughes.

Dean, who said he is part of an activist group called the Brandon Historical Association, called the granting of Norman's appeal ridiculous, and said he has encouraged other members to file ethics complaints.

"We've got work to do," he said of the group. "This kind of woke us up."

Norman could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Keith Berry, an American history professor at Hillsborough Community College, also said he filed a complaint this month.

George Neimann, a Dover community activist, said previously that he planned to do the same. The state ethics commission does not confirm complaints until an initial investigation is completed.

Florida Sen.-elect Jim Norman faces another ethics complaint 11/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 13, 2010 7:46pm]

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