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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


Twitter: @LucyTimes

  1. Why did the FBI detain Bob Graham?



    Going to lunch with former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham can be hazardous to retirement.

    And extremely interesting.

    Take the recent Sunday when my husband and I met Graham, his wife, Adele, and daughter, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, for lunch at Randevu, a small restaurant in the mountains of western North Carolina.

    Over eggs benedict and cheese grits, Graham updated us on his continuing fight to force the FBI to disclose reports documenting the involvement of a Saudi Arabian family that left Sarasota in great haste 11 days before terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. ...

    Bob Graham, then chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, brandished the congressional report on 9/11 after its release in 2003. He thinks hijackers had outside help.
  2. Facing life in prison, drug smuggler thinks of home in Pinellas County


    Tommy Powell, international drug smuggler, picked an odd time to think about where he would like to retire.

    It was 1984. Powell, who was just in his mid 30s, had been extradited after spending a decade on the lam overseas. He stood accused of importing more than 300,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States. A maximum sentence of life plus 70 years would have left details of his retirement entirely in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. ...

    Tommy Powell, in a 2014 photo, at home in Pinellas County. [Courtesy of Tommy Powell]
  3. Traffic accident in Australia ends 40-year-old mystery in Florida


    Death comes to everyone, even those — like Raymond Grady Stansel Jr. — who have been dead for 40 years.

    His first passing was by far the more newsworthy.

    It was 1974, and Florida's statewide grand jury had indicted Stansel for smuggling more than 12 tons of marijuana. Prosecutors described Stansel, then a 37-year-old fisherman and charter boat captain out of Tarpon Springs, as a "soldier of fortune."...

    Raymond Grady Stansel Jr. fled with Janet Wood to Australia where they took the names Lee and Janet Lafferty. Here is Lafferty in 1980 with daughters Jesse, right, and Kianna.
  4. From the archives: Lawton Chiles' camp admits to 'mystery' calls against Jeb Bush campaign

    State Roundup

    Editor's Note: Originally published Nov. 4, 1995.

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Lawton Chiles' campaign made the mystery calls that frightened thousands of senior citizens in the days before the 1994 election.

    After a year of denials, the admission came Friday evening in a letter written by a campaign attorney who insists Chiles and Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay did not know the campaign made the calls....

    Before a Tampa debate in November 1994, Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush shake hands. (Times Photo (1994)   |   Jim Stem)
  5. From the archives: Doors open soon after Jeb Bush's awkward first days

    State Roundup

    Editor's note: Originally published Jan. 9, 1999.

    Educating a new governor is hard work, but this one appears to be learning fast.

    On Wednesday, Gov. Jeb Bush's first full day in office, no one had a copy of the governor's schedule, a public record we review each day as we determine where news is breaking.

    In Tallahassee's pecking order, the governor comes first. If he is having a press conference at 10 a.m., it becomes our priority for that hour. In fact, savvy state officials won't even schedule anything that conflicts with a governor....

    Florida Gov. Jeb Bush meets the capital press corps for the first time as governor and attempts to explain why the media was not allowed into meetings with key legislative leaders earlier on Jan. 6, 1999. (AP Photo)
  6. From the archives: Jeb Bush takes loss in stride; GOP hopes he runs again

    State Roundup

    Editor's Note: Originally published Nov. 10, 1994.

    MIAMI — Jeb Bush lost his first political race, but Florida's growing Republican Party found a new star that is likely to return.

    Bush was the picture of class as he watched 18 months of hard work go down the tubes Tuesday night. He kept family, friends and even reporters around him and conceded the race as soon as he saw it was hopeless....

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush wipes his brow while talking to reporters after conceding the election to Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles in Miami on Nov. 8, l994.  (AP Photo)
  7. From the archives: Day 1, Jeb Bush skirts Sunshine Law

    State Roundup

    Editor's note: Originally published Jan. 7, 1999

    TALLAHASSEE — On his first full day in office, Gov. Jeb Bush met with the two most powerful public officials in Florida's Legislature, but the meetings weren't public.

    Bush's staff refused to let reporters in to listen as he chatted with House Speaker John Thrasher and Senate President Toni Jennings.

    The governor and his aides said the sessions were little more than "courtesy calls," but later they acknowledged they discussed tax cuts, Senate confirmation of appointments and the state's multibillion-dollar budget....

    Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is sworn in by Florida Chief Justice Major Harding, right, as Bush's wife Columba holds the Bible and their son George P., left, looks on Jan 5, 1999, in Tallahassee. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
  8. Lucy Morgan: Putting the 'public' back in public office


    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.
  9. Funeral for Ken Plante set for Friday


    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.
  10. Former state Sen. Ken Plante dies after battle with ALS


    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....

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


    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....

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush paid a visit to Ken Plante at his home last month when Bush was in Tallahassee for a fundraiser.
  12. Morgan: Blind trusts put cloud over Askew's Sunshine Amendment


    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.'' ...

  13. 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.
  14. Florida developer gets 27 years in N.C. mortgage fraud scheme


    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.
  15. Morgan: Florida politicians never learn


    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?