The Florida Senate’s $900k Latvala sex scandal payout came out of general Senate funds

Documents from the case were made public on January 3.

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Jack Latvala, who resigned from the Florida State Senate in December 2017. - Jack Latvala/Twitter
Jack Latvala/Twitter
Jack Latvala, who resigned from the Florida State Senate in December 2017.

Documents released on Thursday show that the Florida state Senate paid $900,000 to the law firm of an aide who accused Senate leaders of retaliating against her for accusing former senator Jack Latvala of sexual harassment.

Slate writes that as part of the settlement, the aide — Rachel Perrin Rogers, a longtime staffer for Republic Senator Wilton Simpson — resigned. The state Senate also continues to deny any wrongdoing.

In 2017, Rogers accused Latvala of inappropriate touching in a state capitol elevator, at a private club and on other occasions. According to the Associated Press, Rogers said that Latvala would say she looked “hot” and also stare at her chest as she tried to talk about legislative issues with him. Five other women came forward in 2017 and anonymously told Politico about being harassed by Latvala. Rogers filed a confidential claim with the state Senate, according to the Tampa Bay Times, but went public with her claim after details about her identity leaked and she learned Latvala had read her unredacted filing.

One independent investigation found that Rogers’ claims of groping and verbal harassment were likely true. Another found that Latvala had likely broken the law by trading votes in exchange for sex acts with a former lobbyist. The state declined to press charges — citing insufficient evidence — and Latvala resigned.

Rogers said that state Senate leaders then retaliated against her by scaling down her responsibilities and launching an investigation based on an internal complaint by a Latvala ally. In January 2018, Rogers filed a complaint against the legislature with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and alleged that the state Senate knew “or should have known” of Latvala’s misconduct and failed to protect employees. A Senate countersuit followed, but a December 2018 settlement led to Rogers’ resignation and the nearly $1 million payout.

Prominent Florida politicians — including former Senate President Joe Negron and even Attorney General Pam Bondi — avoided having to testify under oath, too. Florida Politics also said that a December 5 gag order blocked attorneys and others from discussing the matter with the press.

It’s unknown whether the entire amount is for legal fees or whether Rogers receives some of the loot, but Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said that the settlement money — $900,000 to be paid in a one-time lump sum to a trust account for the legal firm that helped represent Rogers — came from general Senate funds.

What’s that anecdote about politicians needing to try harder when it comes to not letting their penises control their actions?

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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