Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, lawmakers disagree over foreclosure settlement funds

Attorney General Pam Bondi clarified Tuesday that she was not feuding with the Legislature over how to spend $300 million in cash earmarked for Florida as part of a $25 billion national foreclosure settlement.

But it's abundantly clear that Bondi's office and the Legislature have two very different views on what the law says about how the money should be processed.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Bondi has not been able move forward on the funds because the Legislature wants to have a say in how the money is spent.

An official in the Florida House said Bondi has two options for how to appropriate the money, and both options involve getting approval from state lawmakers (which might not happen until next spring).

Asked on Tuesday if she believed she had to get legislative approval to spend the cash, Bondi said: "My opinion? No. I have the authority to distribute it."

Florida's Constitution gives the Legislature authority to make spending decisions, but because this is a legal settlement, there is some gray area in the law.

Bondi repeated seven times in less four minutes that she was mainly concerned with making sure the money went to help homeowners, an indication that this might be a sticking point with the Legislature.

"The reason it's taking so long is I want to be sure it goes to where it should," Bondi said.

Rick Scott sticking by Carroll

It has been a rough few weeks for Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. But Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that she handled recent controversies appropriately and is focused on the right things.

The governor also indicated that he plans to keep Carroll as his running mate when he campaigns for re-election in 2014.

"She's done a great job, why wouldn't I?" he said.

Last month, Carroll apologized to the gay and lesbian community after making remarks to a TV station that were labeled as antigay. She said the comments while defending herself against former aide Carletha Cole's allegations that she caught Carroll in a "compromising position" with another female staffer.

Scott said he didn't talk to Carroll about the statement she made to the TV crew — "usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that," she said — but he believes she responded correctly.

"She apologized, and she did the right thing," the governor said.

Big grass roots game in Florida

One thing Barack Obama did not have to contend with in Florida four years ago was a robust grass roots campaign fueled by eager volunteers. This year the Mitt Romney campaign and Republican National Committee are touting an energized base and a formidable ground operation in must-win Florida.

They have more than 40 "Victory" offices open across Florida with more opening soon. On "Super Saturday" last weekend, Republicans say volunteers made more than a quarter-million voter contacts in Florida by phone and knocked on more than 30,000 doors.

Another thing Obama did not have to contend with was a well-funded rival. In July alone, the Romney campaign reports raising more than $101 million. That included $6.8 million from more than 46,000 Florida donors — in a month when Romney did not visit the state, but Obama, Michele Obama and Joe Biden made multiple appearances.

So what's the Obama campaign up to? Plenty. Thousands of volunteers are spreading the word that the Obama administration has cut $3,600 in taxes for typical families, working out of 39 offices across the state. And a bunch more Obama field offices are poised to open this week, including in New Port Richey and Pinellas Park.

Times staff writers Tia Mitchell and Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, lawmakers disagree over foreclosure settlement funds 08/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 6:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. How should St. Pete make up for dumping all that sewage? How about a street sweeper?


    Every crisis has a silver lining.

    In the case of St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis, which spawned state and federal investigations and delivered a state consent decree ordering the city to fix a dilapidated sewer system, the upside is figuring out how to satisfy the $810,000 civil penalty levied by the Florida …

  2. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  3. Tampa poll rates streets, flooding, police-community relations and transportation as top public priorities


    A city of Tampa online survey of the public's priorities for the next 18 months rated improving streets and easing flooding as the top priority of nearly 89 percent of respondents.

    Survey results
  4. Video shows women violently beating another in apparent Pasco road rage incident


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Two women are accused of dragging another woman out of her car window and beating her unconscious at a Pasco County intersection in an apparent road rage incident, according to the Sheriff's Office.

    Shelley Lyn Gemberling, 49, and Alicia Nikole Scarduzio, 20, are accused of pulling another driver out of her car and beating her in a Pasco County intersection. (Pasco Sheriff's Office)
  5. Top 5 at noon: Out of sight, out of mind: a Times investigation; PolitiFact: what's at stake in the tax debate? and more


    Here are the latest headlines and updates on

    Aaron Richardson Jr. talks to voices in his head at his father's bail bond business in St. Petersburg. Richardson has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]