It’s really a shame that a bill has to be introduced for this…


Bill Aims to Close Revolving Door Between AG, Probed Companies

Idea is, quit AG’s office and you won’t be able to work for a firm under investigation

By: David Royse News Service of Florida

A trio of Democratic state lawmakers say they’ll file legislation to prevent lawyers who leave the attorney general’s office or certain other agencies from going to work for a company that had been under investigation while they were there.

The move is in response to one former lawyer in the attorney general’s office having done that, but there are at least two other lawyers who worked for the office who also worked for some of the foreclosure-related law firms and services companies that have been under investigation by the state.

Last year, then-Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office launched a probe into several law firms that were accused of foreclosure fraud, and the mortgage services company Lender Processing Services.

Besides Lender Processing Services, also known as LPS, other firms that were targeted included the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Marshall Watson, which has since settled with the state; Tampa-based Shapiro & Fishman; and Florida Default Law Group.

In May, Joe Jacquot, who had worked on McCollum’s leadership team, left the AG’s office, now headed by new Attorney General Pam Bondi, and went to work for Lender Processing Services as a vice president of government affairs.

The bill was written primarily because of press reports about Jacquot, but he isn’t the only lawyer who has made such a move.

In June, Mary Leontakianakos, who had headed up the economic crimes division under McCollum that oversaw the mortgage probe and left in January with the change in administrations, took a job with Marshall Watson.

Leontakianakos, who had worked in the AG’s office since 1992, had even been quoted in news reports when McCollum’s office announced it was going after Marshall Watson.

And back in April, Bondi fired an assistant attorney general named Erin Cullaro, who also worked in the economic crimes unit and had previously worked for another of the firms the office investigated, Florida Default Law Group.

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