Saturday, May 26, 2018
Politics

Thank you for sparing us this latest scandal

Thank you, Rob Turner, for sparing us.

Thank you for saving already cynical citizens from another courtroom slimefest, this one detailing the revelations that toppled your otherwise Teflon career as Hillsborough County property appraiser.

Thank you for sparing us the details of how you repeatedly sent pornographic emails to a highly-paid woman in your office whom, by the way, you used to date while she worked for you.

Truly, we appreciate the break.

The Times reported this week that her lawsuit against Turner settled after mediation for $135,000. And so ends the sort of married man scandal that can take down a Congressman, a four-star general, even a local property appraiser of good reputation poised to easily win a fifth term in office.

It's over, and we don't have to watch it.

Did I mention thank you?

Property appraiser may sound like a meat-and-potatoes job, important if a little dull, hardly the setting for tabloid trashiness. But in May, Turner admitted to the Times he repeatedly sent pornographic emails to his human resources director whom he once dated, Carolyn Filippone.

She said she was banished to another office after refusing his advances and after Turner's wife discovered some text messages. She said he sent her a photo of himself that, let's just say, you would not want your grandma to stumble across. He denied that, saying it was a mutual exchange, not unwelcome by her and not done on work time.

And, does it matter?

Once more, with feeling, and hopefully for the last time:

He. Was. Her. Boss.

He. Sent. Her. Porn.

When such scandals play out in their various forms, in texts or public restrooms, I am always at a loss for what could make a man risk everything, reputation, family and standing, though maybe risk is the point.

And I am inevitably reminded by people around me that it takes two to Twitter, so to speak, except she was not the person we entrusted and elected to public office.

So voters showed the once-unbeatable Turner the door.

And by the way, we might not have been in such a thankful mood had his "personal mistakes," as he called them, given us Property Appraiser Ronda Storms.

Equally infamous for her talent for moralizing and polarizing, Storms dumped her state Senate seat posthaste to try to replace Turner while the stink of scandal was still fresh.

But voters were ultimately in no mood for her, either, and gave the job to a man who appears to be a steady hand: former legislator and high school football coach Bob Henriquez, upon whom we wish a successful, competent and please-God dull career.

The Turner trial would have been ugly, and we know ugly. Before former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White went off to federal prison on bribery charges, there was that young employee on the witness stand testifying in excruciating detail that she was fired for resisting him.

Yes, the Turner tale likely went away because of savvy lawyers who are all about odds and cutting losses. She got some money, he got to duck the worst of the headlines to come.

And we got to be done with the scandal du jour — until the next one, anyway.

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