Senator Jim Norman’s ethics charge moves a step forward

The good news is that the case has passed the toughest part of the process – the stringent legal tests to get accepted by the Commission. Now that it has passed those tests it will end up going through the entire process and, at some point, go before the Commission for final determination.

Should we care that much about these ethics charges considering the fact that Norman is already being investigated by other state and federal agencies, which could result in far more serious criminal charges? Even though the criminal investigations may seem like a slam-dunk, we really don’t know how they will end up. The state and the feds could end up not charging him for lack of a viable win in court. The case against County Attorney Renee Lee is a good example of an FDLE case fizzling out and going nowhere. If you recall, she participated in giving herself and ex-County Administrator Pat Bean a secret salary increase. The FDLE had decided not to charge her, even though they believe she perjured herself during, and before, the investigation began. In reading the FDLE investigation report, her behavior reeked of obstruction-of-justice but, unfortunately, it looks like their assessment as to the likelihood of winning in court took precedence in their decision not to charge her. The only chance for justice in the Lee case now is the fact that there are still pending ethics charges against her for those same actions.

I spoke with the ethics investigator who was assigned the Norman case and he says that the criminal investigations now under way must take precedence over any ethics investigation. As a result, he will have to wait until all other investigations are completed before he can proceed. He will, however, be able to use the evidence gathered by the state and federal investigators as part of what he submits to the Ethics Commission prosecutor.

Jim Norman has some high hurdles ahead of him. Can he remain unscathed with the state, the feds, the IRS and a grand jury looking at every detail as to how this $500K+ Arkansas house miraculously fell out of the sky and into his lap?

Hooray!!! We can now officially add the Ethics Commission to the gauntlet Norman must go down.

Note: George Niemann is the complainant in an investigation under way of Senator Jim Norman by the Florida Commission on Ethics. This blog post is not to be considered an official news report and it should be understood that Mr. Niemann is not a reporter working for any news agency.

By George Niemann

Daily Loaf contributor, R-LAND, UCAN and FSP activist, and Flordia Hometown Democracy proponent

The views expressed are my own and not necessarily the same as the organizations to which I belong

The ethics charges against State Senator Jim Norman for secretly taking money from the late developer/powerbroker Ralph Hughes has taken a step forward. The Florida Ethics Commission has just ruled that the charges I filed on November 15, 2010 are “legally sufficient”. As such, the case has now been placed under investigation.

According to earlier press reports, there were only 3 individual ethics cases filed, mine being one of them. The other two complainants are Byron Dean of Brandon and Keith Berry, a Hillsborough Community College history professor. I decided to check with the other complainants to verify that they did file. I spoke with Byron Dean about his complaint. He told me that he was not the only one in Brandon that filed a complaint. He is actively involved with other citizens in his area and he estimates that somewhere between 60 and 80 other residents also filed complaints against Norman. The press only uncovered 3 cases but apparently there were many more than what was reported. Since the Commission does not share information with the public or the press on cases under investigation, this blog post may be the only update you will find as to the progress of these cases.

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