Lucy Morgan, Times Senior Correspondent

Lucy Morgan

Lucy Morgan has been a Times reporter since 1968 and is a former Capital Bureau chief in Tallahassee. She works on special projects and writes occasional columns. She's the winner of 1985 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Phone: (850) 224-7263

Email: lmorgan@tampabay.com

Twitter: @LucyTimes

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  1. Morgan: Florida politicians never learn

    Columns

    You might think our elected officials could learn from their mistakes.

    But time and time again they display a brand of stupidity — and arrogance — that seems to haunt the state capital.

    When I went to Tallahassee at the end of 1985 to cover the governor and Legislature, it wasn't long before I began to notice the splendid treatment legislators and some governors got from lobbyists, especially the lobbyists who worked for the state's major corporate interests. ...

    Is it any wonder that sugar has fared well when it comes to passing legislation that determines the future of the Everglades and agricultural issues?
  2. Four Floridians convicted in N.C. mortgage fraud

    State Roundup

    Four Florida residents were convicted Thursday in federal court in Miami of a complex $50 million mortgage fraud involving dozens of other Floridians who agreed to become paid "straw buyers'' of land in the North Carolina mountains.

    Domenic Rabuffo, 77, of Miami, his former wife, Mae Rabuffo, 75, of Fort Lauderdale, Ray Olivier, 52, of Land O'Lakes and Curtis Allen Davis, 51, owner of Executive Mortgage & Investments in Tampa, were immediately ordered to jail by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore before sentencing Sept. 18. ...

    Homes sit unfinished in the subdivision 10 miles north of Cashiers, N.C. Recorded deeds indicated a sales price of $650,000 an acre. Land in the area rarely sells for more than $15,000 an acre.
  3. Prosecutors: Miami developer, 77, a danger and should remain jailed on bank fraud charges

    Crime

    Federal prosecutors say Domenic Rabuffo, the 77-year-old Miami developer of a controversial North Carolina development, poses a danger to the community and should remain behind bars until trial on multiple charges of bank fraud.

    Rabuffo and six other Florida residents were arrested last week for allegedly scamming banks out of almost $50 million in mortgage money. Each faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine. ...

  4. 7 Florida residents charged in connection to North Carolina mortgage fraud scheme

    State Roundup

    Seven Florida residents have been arrested on multiple charges in a $49.6 million mortgage fraud scheme involving a remote mountain development near Cashiers, N.C.

    Among those accused of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud and multiple bank fraud offenses are Domenic Rabuffo, 77, of Miami and his former wife, Mae Rabuffo, 74, of Fort Lauderdale; Raymond E. Olivier, 52, of Land O'Lakes; and Curtis Allen Davis, 51, of Tampa. They are accused in a federal indictment with three others of using shell companies and straw buyers to purchase lots in a development called Hampton Springs. Each faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine....

  5. Lobbying for a little break

    Perspective

    TALLAHASSEE

    For almost 30 years John M. "Mac'' Stipanovich has worked at the top of Florida's political world, running a successful campaign for governor, serving as chief of staff for Gov. Bob Martinez and as a lawyer and lobbyist for some of the state's best-known businesses.

    Always quotable, Stipanovich was dubbed "Mac the Quote'' early on. Who knew he could write?

    Now at 64 years, Stipanovich is having the time of his life on Facebook, the social networking site better known to people half his age....

    This is Stipanovich in his lobbying mode, but it could easily have been his recent travails in full-on child care: “The siege is lifted. The hardly to be endured Week Without Women has ended.”
  6. Column: Hands in the cookie jar, again and again

    Columns

    Sometimes it seems like we are teachers, trying to inject just a little bit of knowledge into recalcitrant children.

    Year after year, legislators are blistered for taking things from lobbyists who want something from them. Year after year, we write about it.

    Sometimes lawmakers vote to change the rules as though they are saying, "Stop me before I sin again.''

    It doesn't work.

    Now we have a group of lawmakers routinely riding around the state on airplanes owned by a lobbyist who represents a gambling interest. ...

    Weatherford rode on a plane owned by a lobbyist for gambling interests.
  7. Lawyer: Florida missing out on millions by ignoring bail bond law

    Blog

    Could Florida be missing out on millions of dollars in revenue?

    Pensacola trial lawyer Robert Kerrigan says state and local officials have long ignored a law that requires bond agents and surety companies to lose their licenses when they fail to pay up after defendants skip town....

  8. Lawyer: Florida missing out on millions by ignoring bail bond law

    Courts

    TALLAHASSEE — Could Florida be missing out on millions of dollars in revenue?

    Pensacola trial lawyer Robert Kerrigan says state and local officials have long ignored a law that requires bond agents and surety companies to lose their licenses when they fail to pay up after defendants skip town.

    As a result, the state's court system has failed to collect judgments totaling millions of dollars, Kerrigan contends. He represents a Pensacola bondsman who claims the failure of clerks and courts to uphold the law damages competitors who comply with it....

  9. To a new speaker from an old hand

    Perspective

    Editor's note: Like House Speaker Will Weatherford, Lucy Morgan got her start in Pasco County. She was a Tampa Bay Times reporter in Pasco from 1968 until December 1985, when she was appointed capital bureau chief in Tallahassee. She retired from that post in 2006 and has since worked part time handling special projects. She shared the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting with Jack Reed for stories about the Pasco County Sheriff's Department. She retired again Friday after penning this open letter of advice for the new speaker....

  10. Meet Harry Sargeant, Florida Republican money man

    Elections

    TALLAHASSEE — Former Gov. Charlie Crist calls him "a great patriot.''

    Congressional investigators call him "a war profiteer" who walked away with an extra $200 million while providing fuel to American troops in Iraq.

    At Florida State University, he is something of a hero — contributing more than a million dollars to athletic programs, the business school and his old fraternity....

  11. Imagine if Greer weren't the choice

    Perspective

    Think about what might have been.

    In October 2006 it looked as if House Speaker Allan Bense would become the next chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

    Bense was completing a scandal-free run as the leader of the House and insisting he had no plan to run for another political office. He was ready to go home to Panama City and return to his private business despite some heavy pushing from lots of Republicans who wanted him to run for the U.S. Senate....

    Allan Bense, shown as Florida House speaker, completed a scandal-free run as the leader. What if he had become chairman of the Republican Party of Florida?
  12. Funeral information for lobbyist Ralph Glatfelter

    Blog

    Funeral services for longtime lobbyist Ralph Glatfelter will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Bradfordville Baptist Church in Tallahassee.

    Glatfelter, 65 died Sunday, Feb. 17 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.  For 35 years he worked on health care issues, primarily for the Florida Hospital Association.

    A native of Zellwood and a graduate of the University of Florida, Glatfelter was active in student government and after college went to work for Attorney General Bob Shevin in his legislative affairs office....

  13. Jim Greer pleaded guilty, but why?

    Courts

    TALLAHASSEE — For three years, former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer denied doing anything wrong and promised a trial that would embarrass a lot of people. So why did he plead guilty to five felonies Monday, facing the certainty of spending years in prison?

    And who paid Hank Coxe, a widely respected criminal defense lawyer from Jacksonville who parachuted in at the last minute and quietly negotiated the plea that brought the long-running soap opera to a close? Coxe was in the courtroom when Greer pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering charges but did not speak and did not formally file a notice of appearance with the court....

    Harry Sargeant III speaks with his lawyer after he was sued by a partner over fuel shipments to U.S. forces in Iraq. Sargeant supplemented Jim Greer’s pay and is a big political donor.
  14. Panhandle developer pleads guilty over Mike Huckabee's false campaign reports

    Courts

    TALLAHASSEE — Panhandle developer Jay Odom pleaded guilty Tuesday to causing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to file false campaign reports in 2007.

    A second charge of laundering $23,000 in contributions to Huckabee will be dropped by prosecutors. Odom was charged with reimbursing 10 donors who each gave the $2,300 maximum contribution to the candidate.

    The longtime contributor to the Republican Party of Florida and many GOP candidates appeared before U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier in Pensacola. His sentencing was scheduled for April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000....

  15. Jim Greer pleads guilty to grand theft, avoids trial

    Courts

    ORLANDO — After two weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling, former GOP party chairman Jim Greer walked into court Monday morning and pleaded guilty to theft and money laundering charges that could put him behind bars for 3½ years.

    Greer responded "guilty your honor'' to charges he stole and laundered GOP campaign contributions through a company he created, Victory Strategies. He declined to talk with a crowd of reporters as he left court....

    Jim Greer and his wife, Lisa, smile as they leave an Orange County courtroom Monday after Greer pleaded guilty to five charges.