Taxpayers fund, get smacked by Bondi’s ‘revolving door’

Scott Maxwell
Orlando Sentinel

Some excerpts from his report…

Earlier this year, the Florida Attorney General’s Office was in the midst of a pull-no-punches investigation into foreclosure fraud.

Investigators were exposing rampant abuses. They’d netted a $2 million settlement from one company. And they were gunning for more.

But then in May, two things happened:

First, the “special counsel” to Attorney General Pam Bondi left to take a high-level job with one of the very companies the office was investigating.

One week later, the investigators were forced out of their jobs, told late on a Friday afternoon that they had 90 minutes to decide whether to resign or be fired.

No longer could Assistant AGs Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson investigate Lending Processing Services — the company at which Bondi’s former special counsel, Joe Jacquot, was now a senior vice president.

Coincidence? I’m not convinced…

Bondi says the two things were unrelated.

One thing about Jacquot’s departure is sure: It wasn’t unusual.

It is, in fact, way too common for high-ranking officials in Florida to suddenly leave their public jobs to work for the very companies their offices regulate.

Taxpayers hire and train these workers — and then watch them switch sides.

It’s called “the revolving door.” And in Florida, it swings easily and often, upon well-greased hinges.

It hasn’t been unusual as of late, and that is the problem.

For example…

Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin Gets Promotion, Leaves Bench For New Position At Marshall C. Watson…

From: Judge Tobin/17THCircuit
Date: May 17, 2011 5:57:22 PM
Cc: Carol L Ortman

Late this afternoon, I notified Governor Scott that I would be resigning as a Circuit Judge effective June 30, 2011.  Effective July 1, 2011, I will return to private practice with the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson.  I wish to express my sincere thanks to each judge for permitting me the honor of being your Chief Judge during the last four years.  I appreciate the confidence you placed in me.

Vic Tobin

It sure seems to me the game is completely rigged…

Back to Scott’s report…

Bondi claims her office’s recent ousters weren’t affected by cozy relationships with anyone — that Edwards and Clarkson were ousted purely for “poor performance.”

But she is suspiciously low on proof.

Despite several requests, Bondi’s office has been unable to provide a single document that specifically names and accuses either employee of substandard performance before they were ousted. Though Bondi’s chief deputy says he repeatedly spoke with the two about his concerns, he apparently never documented them.

To the contrary, the paper trail on Clarkson and Edwards paints a picture of top-notch investigators.

They had stellar job reviews — ratings of either “exceptional” or “above expectations” in 29 of the collective 30 categories in which they were reviewed.

An interim review by Edwards’ supervisor concluded: “I cannot overstate the degree to which I respect Ms. Edwards and her work with this unit.”

That statement was written four weeks before she was forced out.

We are further alarmed to learn that Edwards’ former supervisor who gave that stellar review, Robert Julian, has since been demoted and moved to a different division. Even though his unit, who  included June Clarkson and Theresa Edwards, brought in more revenue from investigations  protecting the consumer than ALL of the other units COMBINED.

Unfortunately, I must say I am concerned for their former supervisor’s job. In my opinion, he will be dismissed in the near future for some unfounded reason. If he does, we will be here to report it. Sad, but I guess that’s just politics.

Anywho, here are a few more great quotes from Scott’s latest report…

How hard do you think other employees will be on the guy who might offer them a big payday as well?

In this case, Bondi’s staff saw a top staffer get a new job … and the hard-charging investigators get the boot.

And you know what I find most outrageous about Scott’s report?

Scott learned last week that when the story about the ousters broke, Bondi wasn’t even in the state.

She was in Kona, Hawaii.

Bondi was attending a meeting of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, an organization comprised of “the chief legal officers of 15 Western states and three Pacific territories.” (Someone needs a new map.)

He then goes to close it out with…

Before Bondi makes another trip to Hawaii, she needs to provide better answers about what’s happening in her office here in Florida — and make things right.

And the state needs to stop the revolving door that taxpayers not only fund, but which often ends up smacking them in the face. or 407-420-6141

You can check out Scott’s article in full here…

Sign the petition calling for an investigation of Attorney General Bondi’s actions:



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