Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Like we need another sordid sex scandal?

Maybe like me you could live happily ever after without another headline about allegations of a politician's tawdry affair, his public restroom adventures, or his penchant for porn and related creative uses of his cellphone.

But here we go again, looking at a man in a position of public trust and how he tangled up his personal messiness with the office we elected him to.

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner was one of the good guys. A bank executive and political newcomer, he rode in and grabbed the job from an incumbent who was, among other things, shown on TV bar-hopping during business hours. Turner got things cleaned up and set right. We The People elected him no less than four times, and it looked like we were about to make it a fifth. Now, this.

Turner recently confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times' Bill Varian that yes, he repeatedly sent pornography to his human resources director, a woman he had dated. (Isn't human resources where you go when someone sends you stuff like that? But anyway.)

In a since-dismissed complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Carolyn Filippone says Turner repeatedly emailed her graphic sexual images and links to porn videos and websites in an attempt to restart their relationship.

Turner, who calls the whole thing a "personal matter for which I am embarrassed and am very sorry," says the exchange was mutual and didn't happen on office time. He denies Filippone was hustled out of the downtown office and out to Brandon as a sort of banishment.

And here's a detail you just don't want to hear about someone you elected to office, or pretty much anyone else: He also denies sending her a picture of his private parts.

But forget the whole he-said she-said tangle here.

He. Was. Her. Boss.

He. Sent. Her. Porn.

Judgment, anyone?

Common sense?

Not that she works for him anymore. In a curious bit of timing, Filippone found herself fired Monday after the Times had interviewed Turner. He says she was let go because of false allegations in her complaint, not because of a coming story sure to embarrass him. But the complaint was dismissed weeks ago. "We were evaluating," Turner said Tuesday.

He also made a point of saying his office's current nepotism policy against bosses and employees in relationships wasn't in place back when he and Filippone dated. He called it "a personal mistake, but it was not a violation of the current policy at the time."

And that makes it okay?

"This is a perfect example of why it isn't okay," he said.

It's also why it's disappointing.

Turner calls what happened "private events." Except he is, one more time, a public figure in a public office in possession of the public trust interacting with a public employee. He's the boss, even if she did not report directly to him.

And so we could see another trial filled with salacious detail a la former County Commissioner Kevin White when he was accused of pursuing a young employee. And we can expect political fallout that could include a heavy-hitter on the ballot even from Turner's own Republican Party, because who needs another scandal?

And we already have another reason for voters to say: See? Same old same old.

Like we need another sordid sex scandal? 05/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'

    Blogs

    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store

    Accidents

    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108