Attorney General Pam Bondi Juggles Home life, Sudden Celebrity Status
By Kathleen Haughney, Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Pamela Jo Bondi has completely upended her life in the past 18 months.
She won her first election. She and longtime boyfriend Greg Henderson got engaged. She moved to Tallahassee and successfully pushed for a new law to shut down Florida’s pill mills and combat prescription-drug addiction.
“Surreal. So busy,” she said.
She also has been reminded that her every move is under a microscope.
In May, Bondi’s office quietly dismissed two foreclosure-fraud attorneys, Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, who had won national attention (and a $2 million settlement) for exposing lending fraud. But in July, the two women went public, saying their firing was political and releasing their yearly evaluations, which were all glowing.
To make matters worse, another attorney, Joe Jacquot, a holdover from former Attorney General Bill McCollum‘s term, had taken a job at Lender Processing Services. The company was under investigation and had also contributed $500 to Bondi and more than $40,000 to other candidates and the state’s two political parties.
Critics said Bondi was letting the banks slide by and the women were forced out for their aggressiveness. Bondi countered that her subordinates found “numerous problems” with the attorneys’ work, but there were no documents to back that up.
Ultimately, she asked Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a Republican, to investigate. She still backs her aides but admitted she was “troubled” by the documentation issue. “I want to make this the best office in the entire country, and the only way I can improve is to get recommendations and get the advice of others,” she said, adding that she has assigned more lawyers to the mortgage-fraud investigation.
Said State Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, who sought a federal review of the firings, “I would imagine that the honeymoon is over, and she will be more sensitive to these issues. But that’s a good thing.”
It was the first real bump in the 45-year-old Tampa native’s rise to political stardom.
You can check out the rest of Pam’s wonderful life here…