Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist says no need to investigate emergency division

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Charlie Crist said he won't order an investigation into allegations of misconduct and misspending that resulted in the forced resignation this week of Florida's disaster planning chief.

"I think it's been dealt with," Crist said Tuesday, the day after Ruben Almaguer reluctantly resigned his post as interim chief of emergency management.

Almaguer, who had held the job since Craig Fugate left to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency in May, said he is saddened by Crist's decision.

It is unfair, Almaguer said, given that Crist in recent weeks launched internal inquiries into allegations of misconduct against two other agency leaders — Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Frank Peterman and Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos.

"I want this investigated," said Almaguer, 45, a former longtime fire department leader in Miami-Dade County. "And if not, I'd ask the Legislature to look into it. I am not being given the same respect and opportunity that two other agency heads are being given. I want my fair day in court because I've got nothing to hide."

In November, Crist ordered his inspector general to look into Peterman's extensive taxpayer-funded travel after the Times/Herald reported that Peterman spent $44,000 in tax dollars in less than two years.

And last month Crist waded into an odd public-records squabble by asking the state's inspector general to look into Transportation Department e-mails with the headlines "pancake," "Pancakes" and "French Toast." Critics of the commuter rail legislation that passed during December's special session said the breakfast words were code used to potentially skirt a public-records request for agency correspondence on rail issues.

The inquiries are ongoing.

Almaguer is accused by his employees of discriminating against female staffers, overstating department travel savings and making improper purchases with his state taxpayer-funded credit card.

The allegations against Almaguer, and his response to them, show that one of the state's most vital departments has been roiled for months by a divisive power struggle between Almaguer and his No. 2 man, David Halstead.

Crist on Monday named Halstead to the interim director post.

Shannon Colavecchio can be reached at scolavecchio@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Crist says no need to investigate emergency division 01/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 10:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Rain, heat prevails for Tampa Bay through weekend as tropics gear up

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of mid- to late-day showers and scorching temperatures will persist across Tampa Bay on Friday and throughout the weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Is Bucs kicker Nick Folk a significant upgrade over Roberto Aguayo?

    Bucs

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk is entering his 11th NFL season. He spent three seasons with the Cowboys and seven with the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  3. Florida education news: Student discipline, online learning, solar eclipse glasses and more

    Blogs

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Everyone wants their child to behave in school. But sometimes defining what that means causes dissention. That was the case this week at a Pasco County elementary school, which A Pasco County elementary school has adopted a new behavior model that encourages cooperation and responsibility. Some parents are upset that it also seems to support giving in to peer pressure.

  4. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Zephyrhills begins residential lien forgiveness program

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A new program is under way to forgive liens on certain residential properties in the city to combat blight, encourage improvements to properties and spur home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said after the council’s unanimous vote, the new lien forgiveness program is up and running.