Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lawmaker cleared of campaign charge

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House of Representatives will not pursue action against a state lawmaker accused of using his office to undermine a political opponent.

Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, did not engage in electioneering — asking people to vote for or against someone — when he raised questions about the education background of his opponent, a panel of his peers determined Tuesday after a probable cause hearing.

The three lawmakers on the House panel quickly dispensed of the case, but the sole Democrat said the incident left much concern.

"I hope, if nothing else, that this sends a message to our colleagues in the Legislature, future legislators, that this kind of action is troubling," said Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee.

Kreegel was notified in September that his opponent in the 2008 election, Keith Richter, had a job at a Hodges University campus in Fort Myers but claimed to be obtaining a doctorate from a school that is not accredited in the United States.

Records show that Kreegel's legislative aide, Barry Millman, contacted the school, and Richter was demoted from adjunct professor to teaching assistant. Kreegel said he asked Millman to make the call, according to a statement he provided.

But while Millman lost his job amid the controversy, the House panel said there was not sufficient evidence to suggest his boss violated a state law forbidding employees from using their state office during working hours to further a political campaign.

"For all the hassle it has caused, perhaps I shouldn't (have)," Kreegel said when a reporter asked if he would handled the matter differently. "But the truth is, I did the right thing. I did nothing improper."

Robert Anderson, the Lee County man who filed the complaint against Kreegel, said the lawmakers were too limited in their view and did not understand the allegations. "They are not known very well for scolding their own."

Aside from Richardson, two Republicans sat on the panel: Dennis Ross of Lakeland and J.C. Planas of Miami. Two other lawmakers did not show up.

Kreegel faces Richter in the August Republican primary for House District 72.

Lawmaker cleared of campaign charge 07/08/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays Journal: Duda home run sets Rays record

    Blogs

    BALTIMORE -- With one swing of the bat, Rays DH/1B Lucas Duda broke a team record and tied a personal mark in Saturday's game against the Orioles that was not complete at press time.

    Lucas Duda, right, watches his three-run home run against the Orioles.
  2. Brooksville motorcyclist crashes into pole, dies

    Blogs

    BROOKSVILLE — A motorcyclist crashed into a utility pole and died Saturday evening, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

  3. Woman dead in St. Petersburg shooting

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman died in a shooting Saturday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  4. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with a different look to things

    Blogs

    The Rays wrap up their four-game series with the Orioles today and their lineup has a different look, with C Wilson Ramos, OF Steven Souza Jr. and 3B Evan Longoria all getting the day off.

    The Rays are starting their All-Star, RHP Chris Archer, who needs wins in his final two outings to even his record, going …

  5. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.