Florida Ethics Czar Asks for Leniency for Corrupt School Board Member
|This shot by Mike Stocker should have won a Pulitzer.|
Florida Commission Ethics Chairman Roy Rogers wrote the letter for Gallagher on May 23, and it was filed in court by her defense attorney yesterday along with several other such letters."I am requesting leniency in consideration of her overall character," Rogers wrote U.S. District Judge James Cohn in a handwritten letter dated May 23. "I have known Beverly for over 25 years. During that time she consistently and passionately advocated for students. Her communication with decision makers locally and in Tallahassee enured to the benefit of the Broward School District."
Considering Rogers is the state's top ethics official, it's good to know he's so forgiving of a public official who offered to sell out her office -- and try to fix school construction contracts -- in exchange for cash (some of which she famously stuffed in a doggy bag) and promise of a job from agents who pretended to be "quasilobbyists."
Rogers, a Charlie Crist appointee, is also chairman of the Broward Fair Campaign Practices Committee. He was also an executive with Arvida when it built Weston on the Everglades. I have a call into Rogers and am waiting for comment to my question: "What were you thinking?"
Another boneheaded letter came from "Mothers Against Predators" President Jaemi Levine -- who is actually running for the seat being vacated by Board Member Stephanie Kraft. "I know she must pay for her mistakes but I would ask for leniency in her sentencing," Levine wrote.
He writes the obligatory "she was a great official and please be lenient" kind of stuff but then writes something that seems heartfelt and thoughtful, maybe even a bit confessional. Read Platt's thoughts after the jump.
From Platt's letter:
"It is painful to see a public official step over the line. My lengthy involvement in the political process has convinced me that some public officials simply lose sight of the line between right and wrong. Some of it may have to do with peculiar weaknesses such as a corrupt streak, but sometimes it is has to do with self-importance that public officials assume when lobbyists, the public, favor seekers, unions and others puff up the egos of elected officials. We have seen sad examples of this over the years and it may tend to blur the vision of some. Somewhere along the way, Beverly lost sight of the line."
You know, I have to hat-tip Platt for his honesty there.