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Ethics panel refuses to zing Zapata over bitter feud

The Florida Commission on Ethics on Friday found probable cause that Rep. Juan Zapata failed to properly fill out his financial disclosure forms between 2001 and 2005. But the commission voted not to take any further action against Zapata, saying that the preliminary investigation revealed the errors were "unintentional" and that he has since turned in amended forms showing who he owes money to and other financial information.

The commission found no probable cause on much more serious charges: That Zapata waged a vendetta against the Colombian American Service Association after the group refused to reinstate to him to the board of directors and after the group turned down his suggestion that together they buy an office building that would house both his legislative office and CASA offices. The group alleged that Zapata then went after their funding and attempted to discredit the organization with state and local governments.

The advocate in the case says that while there is "evidence" that Zapata did retaliate against the organization, there is "insufficient evidence to reasonably indicate" he used his position as a state legislator to do so.

Here's the advocate's recommendation: Download zapata_recommendation.pdf And here's the investigative report: Download zapata_investigation.pdf

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