Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander said he'll vote on the SunRail deal despite the fact that his cousin, Rep. Baxter Troutman, abstained from voting on the grounds that it's a conflict of interest because their family owns a business that works on the CSX lines.
Alexander based his decision on a Senate general counsel Jason Vail's letter that said "Short answer: No conflict of interest" exists because the family business, Phoenix Industries, doesn't stand to realize a "special gain." The whole document is on the link below**
Yesterday, when we asked about whether his family business purchased Phoenix amid the CSX deal to profit from it, Alexander called the question "speculative" and "ridiculous." We based the question, in part, on information from this Lakeland blog article detailing an apparent tie between SunRail and the Heartland Parkway that Alexander pushed for.
“I asked for a Senate general counsel opinion and the opinion, once again, came back that I have no conflict on voting on the rail issue. With the opinion clearly stating that I have no conflict, I am constitutionally bound to vote. I will not ignore my duty as an elected official simply because some may wish to sideline my vote on an important issue for Florida’s future. I have a responsibility to advocate on behalf of my constituents and to work to create an environment that provides them with the jobs and opportunities to be successful.”
Lots of family intrigue here.