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Daniel Ruth

The Cyrano de Bergerac of Kennedy Blvd.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White has always struck me as one of those guys who hears the James Bond theme run through his head every time he walks into a room.

The name is White, Kevin White — licentious pill.

Alas the hapless pol, according to court documents, emerges more as the Inspector Clouseau of hoochie-coochie.

The Cyrano de Bergerac of Kennedy Boulevard has found himself in a fine kerfuffle of kinkiness in the wake of a federal sexual discrimination lawsuit brought by a former aide who claims no sooner did she go work for the commissioner in 2007 than Kevin White began redefining the term public service.

According to the now scorned aide, Alyssa Ogden, White asked her to accompany him on a trip to Atlanta in April 2007, shortly after she was hired. Little did Ogden suspect she was signing on to become a factotum of coo-coo-ca-choo.

In her lawsuit, Odgen claims the trip to Atlanta, which made Laurel & Hardy's botched scam to sneak away from their wives in Sons of the Desert look like Two Days In Paris, began oddly.

It should have been just the teensiest tipoff to Ogden that White had wanted to pursue affairs of state when he booked her on a separate flight to Georgia so as not to attract attention to himself. Say, that worked out rather well, didn't it?

Odgen has accused White of showing up at her hotel later that evening and asking if he could share her bed because " . . . I don't like to sleep by myself. I'm an only child." Good grief, with creepy lounge lizard pick-up lines like that, a guy couldn't get lucky with an inflatable doll.

The aide essentially told the Warren Beatty-in-waiting-and-waiting-and-waiting to get lost. She claimed several months later, after rebuffing numerous sexual advances from the Casanova of the County Commission, she was canned.

As the sexual harassment litigation has unfolded, there have been more people thrown under the bus than a going-away party for John Gotti.

At first White shopped around the scenario that he actually took Odgen to Atlanta because he was acting as a sort of angel of love between his assistant and Florida Sentinel Bulletin chairman C. Blythe Andrews.

Uh-huh. Odgen was then 22. Andrews was 77 and in poor health. And while hope always springs eternal, the chairman has characterized in a deposition White's suggestion he was romantically inclined toward Odgen a "triage of bull," or words to that effect.

Then White endeavored to suggest that he couldn't possibly have been knock- knock-knocking on Odgen's door in the dead of night because he was comfortably asleep at his uncle Andre White's house,

But Uncle Andre, who at first backed up his nephew in a written statement, has now recanted, insisting he signed the document vindicating Kevin White when he was on medication and had no idea what he was talking about. Well, at least somebody is telling the truth here.

Now the commissioner is throwing his uncle under the bus with Andrews, arguing Andre White wants to throw him under the bus because this whole bedsheet brouhaha could threaten his family member's interest in a potentially lucrative Tampa real estate deal.

However, Odgen has thrown her former employer under the bus, noting instead it was Kevin White who wanted to get in on the sale of the Tampa Park Apartment complex real estate property. To paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws: We're going to need a bigger bus.

If before these tawdry accusations had surfaced, Kevin White had enjoyed a reputation for being a thoughtful, respected, upright public official, perhaps the allegation the commissioner treated his office as if it was something out of Porky's would seem to be the result of a disgruntled former employee seeking some vindictive payback.

You may start rolling your eyes now.

Instead White has used his public positions of trust to pad his wardrobe with campaign funds designating his haberdasher as a "consultant," while emerging on the County Commission as little more than a bobbing-head "yes" doll for development interests.

Now Kevin White faces an ugly court proceeding while in the midst of a re-election campaign against former Florida House member Les Miller, a race made all the more daunting, especially since the commissioner has managed to offend Andrews, a longtime (and perhaps former) supporter and an influential voice in the black community.

If White had trouble sleeping before, he should ponder the notion that disgraced former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom probably has a brighter political future.

The Cyrano de Bergerac of Kennedy Blvd. 05/14/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:44pm]
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