Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sink takes on state's top financial regulator at contentious Cabinet meeting

TALLAHASSEE — Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink lambasted the state's top financial regulator at the Cabinet meeting Tuesday for not aggressively pursing litigation against Bank of America — her former employer — for its deal with Merrill Lynch.

"I'm not really impressed with the comments you made," Sink said bluntly. "The last commissioner lost his job because he hid behind not having the powers or not having the resources. My main frustration … is the sense of do-nothingness and inaction in the face of all sorts of scams in our state."

The public scolding of Thomas Cardwell, the commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation, stood in stark contrast to the typical decorum in the Cabinet room, where the state's top four officials meet twice a month. And for another reason: Cardwell was Sink's pick for the job.

Given an opportunity to respond, Cardwell fought back. "This is not an excuse," he said, preceding it with the standard "with all due respect."

Sink wants Attorney General Bill McCollum and the state's financial regulators to aggressively pursue litigation. She applauded New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who sued former Bank of America's chief executive Ken Lewis for fraud in the purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Cardwell said the state's interests are well represented by three pending legal actions, one of which involves the state's pension fund as a party trying to recoup damages. He also said Florida's laws at the time of the deal don't allow it to recoup losses on behalf of individuals.

McCollum, a Republican, came to Cardwell's rescue at one point, squaring off against Sink, his Democratic gubernatorial rival.

Outside the meeting, McCollum's campaign called Sink's efforts a stunt, but McCollum refused to stand by the claim. Sink, meanwhile, called the accusation "a bunch of bull."

John Frank can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Sink takes on state's top financial regulator at contentious Cabinet meeting 02/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 10:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The boy was screaming with 7 hours left to fly. Then she held out her hand


    She's a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He's a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.

    Bentzion Groner posted photos on Facebook of his wife, Rochel Groner, comforting a wailing boy on their transatlantic flight. [Bentzion Groner Facebook]
  2. Detectives investigating after body found in vacant Tampa lot


    TAMPA — Detectives are investigating after a man was found dead Tuesday in a vacant lot in north Tampa.

  3. Rays can't wave white flag



    Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Bladders were back at it against the Rays on Tuesday night at the Trop, where, the whole world knows by now, there is no bathroom in the visitors bullpen. Showalter, who mentioned it after the Orioles won Monday, agreed with us before the game: They ought to have a …

  4. Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed to serve in U.S. military


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity" in the U.S. armed forces.

    President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. [Associated Press]
  5. 'Wonder Woman 2' gets a release date


    The sequel to Warner Bros. massive superhero hit Wonder Woman has a release date.

    'Wonder Woman' starring Gal Gadot was a box office smash hit.