Richard Corbett resigns as Florida Fish and Wildlife commissioner

Published Aug. 22, 2015

Richard Corbett, the Tampa mall developer who chaired the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission when it decided to bring back bear hunting after 21 years, has resigned.

Corbett sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott dated Tuesday in which he said he wanted to "retire" before his term on the commission officially ended in 2018. His last day is Sept. 1.

Corbett's letter makes no mention of the controversial decision to bring back bear hunting, a move he strongly supported even though 75 percent of the 40,000 people who called, emailed or wrote letters to commissioners opposed it. He gave no reason for his resignation, and could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Scott moved quickly to fill the position. On Friday he appointed another developer to replace Corbett. The new commissioner is Robert Spottswood, a wealthy hotel builder and attorney from Key West. His first day in office will be the first day of the commission's next meeting, at which it is supposed to discuss a new policy on Florida panthers and also set a limit on how many bears can be killed during the October hunt.

Spottswood has contributed money to politicians of both parties, including $10,000 to the governor's Let's Get to Work Committee in 2013. He also is one of Scott's appointees to the Commission on Health Care and Hospital Funding.

More here.