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College handed Sansom $122M wish list

The president of the college where Ray Sansom now works provided him with a "pricey" $122-million funding request over five years with the implicit expectation that Sansom would help "make it a reality."

Sansom, who got the request in February, took care of the first part. This year, he secured $25.5-million in the budget for a student services building at Northwest Florida State College -- $24.5-million more than the Department of Education requested.

Records obtained today by the Times/Herald show the college wanted $18-million in PECO funds in the upcoming fiscal year (at some point, the request was pared back to $13.2-million, a figure we already reported. The DOE has recommended only $748,000).

Pecolist The big payoff was to come in Sansom's final year in the House, with $34-million. Then in the two years following, the college wanted an additional $45-million.

All told, the college laid out a five-year plan to obtain $122.5-million. "It's a pricey list ... hopefully we can make it a reality," President Bob Richburg wrote to Sansom on Feb. 26, 2008.

It was not the first time Richburg directly appealed to Sansom for funding. See below.

Leadership_2 In August 2007, Richburg presented Sansom with a proposal for a "Northwest Florida Leadership Institute," a training center of sorts for business people at the college.

Sansom warmly embraced the idea -- "This looks great!! Next step?" -- and then pledged to find money. "I will get to work on funds," he wrote to Richburg.

The rest is history. Sansom inserted $750,000 in start-up money into the current budget for the institute -- a quiet move that cause tension with House Speaker Marco Rubio.