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Bennett beats the rap over charges he killed bill to hurt developer

Sen. Mike Bennett, a Republican from Bradenton, has been cleared by the Florida Commission on Ethics on charges that he used his position to try to force a developer to work out a deal with another developer. The dispute stems from a battle during the 2007 session when Bennett killed a local bill that would have created a special taxing district for approximately 5,700 acres in North Port in Sarasota County.

The lead prosecutor on the case concluded that while it was true that Bennett did kill the local bill there is not evidence that Bennett "misused" his position. However, the investigative report contains serious allegations, including that Bennett went to bat for former State Sen. Pat Neal, who owned property adjacent to the land targeted for the taxing district, and that Neal demanded $20 million from  the developer of the property in exchange for dropping opposition to the project.

Here's the investigative report: Download bennett_investigation.pdf
Here's the recommendation on what actions should be taken against Bennett: Download bennett_recommendation.pdf

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