Iorio weighs in on Buddy Johnson's problems

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Gov. Charlie Crist said today that he does not believe the state needs to investigate former Hillsborough County Commissioner Buddy Johnson for his alleged misuse of funds.

Hillsborough County officials have sent several state and federal government agencies, including law enforcement agencies, the results of a recent audit that suggests Johnson misspent money and broke state law. Current Supervisor Phyllis Busansky said this week the FBI has seized some of the audit records.

Meanwhile, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio gave her most extensive comments perhaps ever about her successor at the Supervisor of Elections Office. Iorio told reporters that what’s happened since she left the office six years ago is heart breaking.

An audit released last week showed that Johnson broke state law by overspending by nearly a million dollars his allocated budget. He also left office owning the vendor for the County’s voting machines, Premiere Elections Solutions, more than $2 million.

It was also reported last week that after Johnson lost to Phyllis Busansky, he contacted Premiere looking for a job.

In speaking about Johnson, Mayor Iorio took a shot at former Gov. Jeb Bush as well. Bush named Johnson to replace Iorio when she left the office to run for mayor of Tampa. Asked if she was surprised to learn that the FBI is now investigating Johnson, Iorio said no, she wasn’t.

The discovery that the FBI is investigating Johnson came after Hillsborough County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to forward the Ernst & Young audit to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for review.

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