Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate to decide punishment in state Sen. Jim Norman's ethics case

TALLAHASSEE — As Sen. Jim Norman of Tampa prepares to battle two opponents for his Senate seat, he's also waiting for his punishment.

The Florida Commission on Ethics on Friday urged the Senate to decide how to punish Norman for not disclosing a $500,000 gift to his wife from a local businessman. The punishment options are a reprimand, fine or removal from office.

The commission found probable cause in February to show Norman should have disclosed the gift when he was running for Senate in 2010. Norman also failed to disclose his interest in an Arkansas home and two boats that were bought with the money from the deal.

Norman signed an admission of guilt in the case last month, deciding not to fight the allegations.

He did not return calls for comment Friday.

The panel's decision leaves Norman vulnerable to opponents' attacks as he prepares to face fellow Republicans for his seat in an Aug. 14 primary.

"One of the reasons I'm in this campaign is because I believe there is an ethics problem and that the public trust has been broken," said Rob Wallace, a former House member.

He wouldn't directly answer whether his campaign will attack Norman's ethics record.

John Korsak, a Republican activist and homeland security consultant, has also challenged Norman.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, chairman of the Senate rules committee, predicted that it could be at least November before the Senate takes up Norman's case.

He said the Senate will consider previous cases when deciding Norman's punishment.

For example, when Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, was found to have failed to disclose his $400,000 house and $120,000-per-year consulting job, the Senate admonished him but did not issue fines or other penalties.

Norman's attorney, Mark Levine, insists Norman's wife, Mearline, is an independent businesswoman who didn't fill her husband in on the details of the transaction.

Furthermore, the Hillsborough County attorney had advised Norman, who was then a county commissioner, that he didn't have to disclose, Levine said.

"There was no corruption here, no misintent, no bribery," he said. "We're left here with a simple form-filing mistake that people do all the time."

The charges have dogged Norman for two years, and he's eager to move on, Levine said.

"He's lost sleep over this, certainly," he said.

Senate to decide punishment in state Sen. Jim Norman's ethics case 03/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis

    Movies

    The day the clown died, Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis.

    Jerry Lewis in 2005. Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 (New York Times)
  2. Game of Thrones: 'Beyond the Wall' is dark and full of terrors

    Blogs

    In the battle between the living and the dead, you win or you get the dragon queen to come rescue you.

    Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) in Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 6.
  3. The Tampa Bay Rays are unlikely to make a decision on whether the team will leave Tropicana Field until after the St. Petersburg mayoral election, people close to the negotiations believe.
  4. Live video: See how the solar eclipse is unfolding across the country

    Space

    Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses staked out viewing spots along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday in what promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history.

    A family sets up a tent at their campsite at sunrise for the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. [Associated Press]
  5. What time is the eclipse near me? NASA's interactive solar eclipse map has the best answer

    Space

    No matter where you are during today's solar eclipse, NASA has a map that will determine exactly what time the eclipse will begin, peak and end at every location in the United States.