Haridopolos campaign says college textbook development is not a real issue
Under a contract from Brevard Community College, State Senate President Mike Haridopolos wrote a book on political science. He was paid more than $150,000 and critics have scoffed at the quality of the text Haridopolos wrote. Now a liberal group says the meager income generated for the college by the book is cause for concern. Damian Filer is a spokesperson for Progress Florida.
"It was about 2 weeks ago at an event in Tampa at a Tiger Bay luncheon and Senator Haridopolos was asked if he would return the $152,000 that he was paid for this book that he wrote for Brevard Community College and he didn't say that he would return the money but he made a point of saying that all the proceeds from the sale of the book would go back to the college. That was the point that he made and so the investigation that we've done was to determine what those proceeds actually amount to and we got in touch with the college and they supplied us with the information that shows that as of June 21st they've sold a grand total of 70 copies of this book as an e-reader download through Amazon's Kindle and that the total royalties awarded to the college from those sales on their $152,000 investment so far total of $487.90"
Why do you think it is then that the college made this kind of investment, $152,000, if they weren't expecting that much in return? Was it a book that they're going to use for as a textbook for other students?
"That's a very good question and I think it's a question that taxpayers who footed this bill have a right to know the answer to and it's a question that I would hope that you or others would ask of the college and ask of the Senate President. I don't have an answer to that question."
I haven't bought one of the 70 copies that's been sold, I think you have, is that correct that you've read it and what's the book like?
"I've been able to read pieces of it and the thing about it is that it was billed as being a kind of genuine academic textbook when the idea was presented and it has really gotten scathing, scathing reviews from folks who've read it. It's been called sophomoric and unsophisticated. It's got things in it like 'make sure you have a cell phone when you're running a political campaign'. Things like that that are just not, I don't think meets the criteria for what anyone would think that a book from someone in his position, certainly getting paid what he did, would be providing."
Your website is called dirtyhari.org but is it really considered dirty for a college professor to write an academic book?
"Certainly not, it happens all the time. First of all this site, dirtyhari.org is something that we put together a while back and that really chronicles a history on the part of Mike Haridopolos of doing things that really seem to fly in the face of the rhetoric that's coming from him in his role as Senate President and it goes back before the issues with the book. He has run afoul of things right and left including violating state ethics laws and failing to disclose things on his financial disclosures about car loans and home investments and real estate issues and consulting firms that he works with. There's been another issue with another university which is University of Florida about the pay that he's receiving there compared with other professors who are doing comparable work with comparable or superior credentials. That and this book deal also are interesting in contrast with the positions that he's taken on cutting pay and cutting the funding for our universities. The dirtyhari.org site goes into issues that are much broader. This is really just the latest in a long line of things."
Haridopolos is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. His campaign manager Tim Baker says the Brevard Community College book deal is a non issue.
"Senator Haridopolos was approached when it was time to renew his contract and given the option of approaching this basic freshman/sophomore level political history type text or continuing in the classroom. He and the college felt that based on the amount of constraints on his time up in Tallahassee with some of the special sessions that were going on and affecting some of his ability to be in the classroom 100 percent of the time due to his state duties that they would approach this modified employment contract whereby he would take a pay cut and focus primarily on producing this text."
The college and the Senator feel that this text was appropriate for the college students?
"I think that whether you want to call it a literary masterpiece or not is a point of fair debate but the Senator met his contractual obligations of what the college laid out for him and the college offered him continued employment after this contract was over and that was when he decided to seek employment at the University of Florida. He had another opportunity at the University of Florida that he pursued but Brevard Community College was happy with the product and asked him to remain there in his capacity."
What do you think about this group, Progress Florida, bringing the book deal up and saying that the number of copies that's been sold and the proceeds that have gone to the college don't really compare to the $152,000?
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"Well, you know, it's political season, it's partisan politics. I think that this group struggles to get its facts straight because if I remember I heard a month or two ago, you know, they were complaining that nothing had been sold and now they're complaining that more money has gone to the college than had previously so you know, I just dismiss the normal partisan attacks that come when you're running against the Democrat machine."