The state Commission on Ethics has dismissed a complaint against former state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, which alleged she had conflicts of interest in pushing legislation that benefitted the craft beer industry.
The complaint, by Milton Toro Marquez of Tampa, arose from a Times story about Democrat Janet Cruz's criticism of Young during her re-election campaign. Cruz unseated Young in the Nov. 6 election.
The complaint alleged that in supporting bills to make it easier for craft breweries to retail their products, Young benefited companies her husband had invested in, which make canning and bottling equipment for small breweries. It also alleged that Young's net worth since taking office had increased tenfold to $4.7 million, largely because of her joint investment accounts with her husband.
But Young's response called the allegation "absurd," saying there was no connection between the legislation she sponsored, which facilitated local beverage deliveries and tasting rooms sales, and a manufacturer of canning and bottling equipment.
Young had developed a reputation prior to her husband's investment as a champion of the craft beer industry, in part because she said it creates small businesses and jobs that often help reinvigorate depressed manufacturing areas.
In a ruling Dec. 7, the commission found that even if the legislation Young sponsored helped the industry in general, there was no clear connection between the legislation and any benefit to the specific companies in which her husband invested.