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Ex-Speaker Ray Sansom resigns from Florida House

AP_FLPC203_SANSOMS_JOB TALLAHASSEE — Ray Sansom resigned from the Florida House of Representatives on Sunday night, a dramatic decision on the eve before his colleagues were to begin an ethics trial over his dealings with a Panhandle college.

“Let me state that this shall not be received as an admission of any wrongdoing,” Sansom wrote in a letter. “On the contrary,  I have steadfastly maintained that I am innocent of any wrongdoing and I will never relent from that position.”

The  decision, reached just before 8 p.m., ends a legislative career that once put Sansom at the apex of Florida politics but unraveled in scandal as he took a job at Northwest Florida State College on the same day in November 2008 that he was sworn in as House speaker.

“This is a resolution that’s in the best interest of everyone involved. He’s is no longer a member of the Florida House,” said Rep. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican who chaired the disciplinary panel.

“We are his colleagues and that makes it heart wrenching,” Galvano said.