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Ousted House Speaker Ray Sansom racked up about $173,000 on his Republican Party-issued credit card, taking his family on a trip to Europe, making visits to Best Buy and spending thousands on flowers, clothing, meals and hotels.
As a recession tightened on Florida families, Sansom was spending freely, records show, on tuxedo rentals, Chinese food and a steady flow of coffee — $839 at Starbucks alone.
The American Express statements, covering a two-year period, were made public Thursday as part of the criminal case against Sansom, who is accused of official misconduct in securing $6 million in taxpayer money for an airport building that a developer and campaign contributor, Jay Odom, allegedly wanted to use for his private jet business.
Taken together, the credit card charges cast the Destin Republican in a starkly different light from the small town politician who preached fiscal restraint.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:
Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.
A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”