A committee of the Florida House of Representatives, probing the conduct of former House Speaker Ray Sansom will meet next Monday and Tuesday. The committee hearing would also be making recommendations to the House on Sansom’s future.
Sansom, (R-Destin) has been accused by an Odessa resident of damaging the integrity of the House by directing $35 million, including $6 million to a Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) for what was supposed to be an educational building, when he served as speaker of the House. As it turned out, the monies were used to construct an airport hanger at the college where his friend, Bob Richburg was president and in which one of his pals, developer and campaign contributor, Jay Odom, had an interest. It has also been revealed that on the very day that Sansom became House Speaker, he also took a part-time job at the Northwest Florida State College, which paid as much as $110,000 annually, which was never advertised.
The committee investigating Sansom has issued dozens of subpoenas for persons to testify, but have released Odom and Richburg after learning that both will invoke their right not to do so.
One such subpoena was issued to Miami Republican Marco Rubio, currently a U.S. Senate candidate, and who once served as House Speaker in 2007/2008, with then hand-picked Appropriations Chairman, Ray Sansom.
Many speculate, should Rubio testify before the committee, it would bring attention that could prove uncomfortable for the candidate, particularly when he is ahead of his rival, Governor Charlie Crist, for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, although Circuit Judge Terry Lewis dismissed, a few months ago, charges of misconduct against Sansom, Odom and former NWFSC President Bob Richburg, they all separately still face criminal charges of conspiracy and grand theft, brought by Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs. Said Megs at the time, “Same set of facts, different charge. We think a crime has been committed here.” Sansom has denied any wrongdoing.