Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sansom used Rubio to justify money grab

Why did Ray Sansom go after a $6 million airport building that would ruin his political career?

Marco Rubio.

Or so Sansom says.

The detail is one of many that could have come out had Sansom not resigned from the House on Sunday, hours before the House was to put him on trial for allegedly violating House ethics rules.

As his legal problems mounted last year, Sansom told House communications director Jill Chamberlin that while he served as House budget writer, then-House Speaker Rubio called and said the Senate had more school construction money in its budget.

Rubio, Sansom said, told him to "even it out."

So Sansom, R-Destin, said that's why he went after $6 million for what he insisted would be an emergency operations and training center, to be maintained by the college where he would later get a job.

Evidence has shown that Sansom's friend, Jay Odom, wanted to use the space at Destin Airport as a hangar for his corporate jet business.

It's not uncommon for either legislative chamber to try to size up the other's budget, and there is no evidence Rubio or anyone else knew that the building could have been used by Odom.

And Sansom got a lot more than the $6 million. Over the two years he controlled the House purse strings, Northwest Florida State College got $35 million in extra or accelerated funding.

Rubio, now in a heated Republican Senate primary race against Gov. Charlie Crist, has said he delegated authority to Sansom.

"This is simply not true," said Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos of Sansom's account. "As it has been well documented, Marco Rubio was not aware of any inappropriate projects deceptively inserted in the budget."

Crist said he too was unaware of Odom's role and therefore he did not veto the project, even though it circumvented normal budget procedure.

Among other disclosures in the case prepared by House special prosecutor Melanie Hines:

• Sansom donated $6,000 from his political campaign account to Northwest Florida State College two months before he was given a $110,000 part-time job there. Sansom had contributed before, but in far less amounts.

• Witnesses suggested that college president Bob Richburg would have become chancellor of a new state college system he and Sansom helped create through legislation in 2008. It was assumed Sansom would take over as president, witnesses said.

Sansom used Rubio to justify money grab 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]