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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. Lucy Morgan: Putting the 'public' back in public office

    Columns

    Some governors are slow learners. Gov. Rick Scott is beyond slow. He doesn't learn. He doesn't appear to care about public access to records, meetings and information traditionally available to Floridians.

    Most governors have a bit of trouble getting used to working in the fishbowl of state government, particularly if they won election without stopping off in another elected office that operated in the Florida sunshine....

    A governor’s response to open government sets the tone for all other public officials in Florida. By any measure, Gov. Rick Scott’s response is a failure.
  2. Funeral for Ken Plante set for Friday

    Blog

    Funeral services for former state Sen. Ken Plante will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 4665 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee.

    Plante died Sunday after a long illness.

    Friends may call at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home, 1737 Riggins Road, Thursday from 6 until 8 p.m.  ...

     Ken Plante, with his wife, Sandy, in 2012 after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  3. Former state Sen. Ken Plante dies after battle with ALS

    Obituaries

    TALLAHASSEE — Former state Sen. Ken Plante died Sunday night after a three-year battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

    Plante, 75, was hospitalized last week as his condition worsened.

    A Republican born in Orlando, Plante was elected to the Senate from Winter Park in 1967. He left the Legislature in 1978, but remained in Tallahassee as a lobbyist for a number of commercial clients and Gov. Jeb Bush....

  4. Ken Plante, 75, dies after three-year battle with ALS

    Blog

    Former state Sen. Ken Plante died Sunday night after a three-year battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 Plante, 75, was hospitalized last week as his condition worsened.

    A Republican born in Orlando, Plante was elected to the Senate from Winter Park in 1967. He left the Legislature in 1978, but remained in Tallahassee as a lobbyist for a number of commercial clients and Gov. Jeb Bush....

    Ken Plante and wife Sandy, taken in 2012 shortly after he was diagnosed with ALS.
  5. Morgan: Blind trusts put cloud over Askew's Sunshine Amendment

    Editorials

    The funeral for Gov. Reubin Askew was under way at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee in March when James Apthorp started thinking about Askew's legacy and an effort by state legislators to dilute it.

    "I was thinking about what was really important to him,'' Apthorp recalled last week as he left the 1st District Court of Appeal with Talbot "Sandy'' D'Alemberte, the former Florida State University president and former president of the American Bar Association. "Someone had to pick up the banner.'' ...

  6. Two Tampa Bay men sentenced to 20 years in N.C. real estate fraud case

    State Roundup

    Long prison sentences were handed down Thursday for three principals in a North Carolina real estate fraud case, including two from the Tampa Bay area.

    Miami developer Domenic Rabuffo, 78, recruited straw buyers in several Florida cities. The buyers had hoped to profit from lending their names and credit ratings for fraudulent mortgage transactions that netted the developer more than $50­ million....

    Developer Domenic Rabuffo, 78, of Miami was the leader.
  7. Florida developer gets 27 years in N.C. mortgage fraud scheme

    Civil

    Florida developer Domenic Rabuffo was sentenced Tuesday to more than 27 years in federal prison for a North Carolina mortgage fraud scheme that bilked four major banks out of more than $50 million in loans made to dozens of Floridians who posed as straw buyers.

    The Miami man, now 78, is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    After being jailed without bail following his indictment in January, Rabuffo has been hospitalized several times and had carotid surgery to restore the flow of blood to his brain. His lawyers say he also has diabetes and a degenerative spinal disc problem that has him in a wheelchair....

    Domenic Rabuffo, 78, of Miami is appealing the conviction.
  8. 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?
  9. 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. ...

    Domenic Rabuffo spent time in prison in the 1980s for a similar financial fraud case.
  10. 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. ...

  11. 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....

    One of the unfinished houses in the Hampton Springs development in Cashiers, N.C.
  12. 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.”
  13. 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.
  14. 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....

  15. 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....