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WHITE ETHICS CASE ADVANCES

Next up for Kevin White is to admit guilt or fight the charges.

The Florida Commission on Ethics said Wednesday there is reason to believe former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White is guilty of three violations in connection to his 2009 sexual harassment case.

The Ethics Commission found probable cause that White misused his public office by threatening the job and ultimately firing former aide Alyssa Ogden for refusing his multiple sexual advances.

The nine-member panel also found in a closed session last week that there was probable cause that White had a conflict when he subsequently participated in votes relating to the county suing him to recoup some of its legal expenses in the case.

From here, an advocate for the Ethics Commission can seek a settlement with White that likely would involve him paying a fine and admitting guilt. Or White can fight the charges before an administrative law judge, who would make a recommendation on how to resolve the case back to the Ethics Commission, which can accept, reject or modify the judge's order.

A federal civil jury awarded Ogden $75,000 in damages after finding White sexually discriminated against her by firing her for refusing his sexual overtures. The county and White are still locked in a court battle over who should pay legal bills amassed by both in connection to the case.

White was trounced by two fellow Democrats during his re-election bid last year.

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