Sink Accused of Favoring Contributor listen12/29/09 Mark Anderson
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Today, the St. Petersburg Times ran a suggested that Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink recommended the firm of a corrupt South Florida Lawyer for State work, because he contributed to her campaign for governor. Scott Rothstein was recently arrested and charged with running a Ponzi scheme cheating investors out of more than 1 billion dollars.
The newspaper suggested that Sinkâ€™s office recommended Rothsteinâ€™s firms be considered to handle potential litigation for the State Board of Administration, which oversees the huge state pension fund. Sink has been critical of the SBA, and has recommended they aggressively pursue recovery of fund investments lost during the economic downturn.
Kyra Jennings is Sinkâ€™s communications director.
Sink insists that she recommended numerous law firms to be considered, and that no special favors were granted to Rothsteinâ€™s firm. From Sinkâ€™s perspective, the issue is being aggressive in recovering pension fund monies, not favors.
The SBA was in the process of choosing 5 law firms to help recover lost investments, from a total of 31 applicants. Dennis McKee is a spokesman for the SBA.
He claims that all selection activity was conducted fully within the Florida Sunshine law, which stipulates that all activity be made public.
Attorney Scott Rothsteinâ€™s success was too good to be true from many peopleâ€™s view. His net worth skyrocked from around $160,000 in 2003, to tens of millions earlier this year. Along the way, Rothstein, his firm, and its employees were extremely generous donors, to politicians, political parties, and to numerous charities. He has been a big Republican donor in the state, giving over $80,000 so far this year on Governor Cristâ€™s Senate race. Both Crist and Sink have returned the donations after the scandal came to light. Debate over pension fund governance isnâ€™t over. Earlier this month, Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum recommended additional governance for the SBA.
Sinkâ€™s recommendation to expand the size of the oversight board were not accepted by McCollum or Crist.
Since the bottom of the stock market in March, things have started to look up for the pension fund.
The Florida legislature will decide what changes are needed at the SBA. In the meantime, Rothstein is jailed, awaiting prosecution in South Florida.
We were not able to reach Rothsteinâ€™s victims lawyer for comment.