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Sink sat on Sykes Enterprises' board when state sued

Democrat Alex Sink says the big difference between her and Republican rival Rick Scott in the gubernatorial race is that she has ``never been associated with any whiff of scandal, corruption or cheating the government.''

But a decade ago, Sink sat on the board of a Tampa-based call-center operator, Sykes Enterprises, a company sued by Florida's state investment fund and by thousands of shareholders for giving them ``knowingly inflated'' financial information.

In court records, Sykes said that it was the victim of vague and complicated accounting rules, but the company ultimately settled the 10,000-member class-action lawsuit in 2000 for $30 million.

Sink, now Florida's chief financial officer, says the Sykes civil lawsuit issue pales in comparison to Scott's business scandal at Columbia/HCA. The hospital chain, which Scott founded and ran, was the target of a criminal probe that ultimately resulted in a record $1.7 billion Medicare fraud fine in 1997. More here.


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marc cooper

Who cares about a Governor or a Senator, real political power in florida rests in the attorney general!

Vote with intellegence or face the consequences.

Candidates for Florida attorney general have differing views on where gay adoption lawsuit should go

Both believe their views follow state constitution.

Posted: October 3, 2010 - 12:00am

By Larry Hannan

Candidates running for Florida attorney general usually want the public to know they'll be tough on crime.

Legal philosophies of the people running, and their views on when the office should get involved in civil litigation, usually get short shrift.

But the long-simmering issue of gay adoption, a controversy in Florida since it was banned in 1977, is showing how Republican Pam Bondi and Democrat Dan Gelber would function as the state's top legal officer.

Gelber has vowed to accept a court ruling throwing out the gay adoption ban. Bondi has said she would appeal it to the Florida Supreme Court.

Both insist they are not motivated by their personal views but would be basing their action on the Florida Constitution. Gelber believes the ban violates the constitution; Bondi does not.

Attorney General Bill McCollum has been unable to protect the ban. The 3rd District Court of Appeal recently upheld a ruling by a Miami-Dade judge who found the ban violated the state's equal protection guarantees by singling out gay parents.

McCollum, a Republican who is leaving office at the end of this year following an unsuccessful run for governor, has drawn criticism for defending the ban in court. But while acknowledging he personally supported it, he insisted that as attorney general he was required to defend it and would have had to even if he was personally opposed.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown didn't see it that way. Brown, who is running for his second tenure as governor, refused to defend a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and private groups ended up defending it in federal court.

Gelber, a state senator from Miami who was previously a federal prosecutor, said he agreed with McCollum's view that an attorney general is required to defend state laws and constitutional amendments even when he or she personally disagrees with them.

But Gelber believes there is an exception: An attorney general, he says, doesn't have to defend a law that violates the constitution, and under that exception he would have refused to defend this ban.

"The attorney general's duty is to protect the constitution and the people of Florida," he said. "It's not to protect bad laws."

He also didn't think the state had much of a case, and it wasted time and money.

"I'd compare it to when I was a federal prosecutor," Gelber said, "and I didn't think I had enough evidence to prosecute."

Bondi, a former Tampa prosecutor, also said the attorney general's first obligation is to exercise independent judgment on behalf of the people and to the constitution.

"That said, where there is no conflict with the attorney general's duty to the constitution," Bondi said, "the attorney general ordinarily has an obligation to defend statutes that are challenged in court."

That's especially true when a state agency asks for representation, Bondi said.

The Florida Department of Children and Families requested the attorney general's assistance in the gay adoption case.

Gelber and Bondi both declined to comment on the California case, saying they preferred to focus on Florida.

"It is not for me to opine on the duties of another state's attorney general." Bondi said.

Aubrey Jewett, political science professor at the University of Central Florida, said there is a gray area when it comes to what an attorney general is required to do.

"The attorney general does defend the state in most instances," Jewett said. "But it's also a political office with some discretion on what can be done."

The job actually has more discretion than other political offices, Jewett said.

Some attorneys general focus on white-collar crime; others choose to focus on drugs, domestic violence or consumer fraud, he said.

Jacksonville University political science professor Stephen Baker said the job tends to attract people who want to use it as a steppingstone to governor or senator.

"You can make a lot out of that job," Baker said, "if you pick issues that are popular with the public."



Florida Republicans: Stop This Madness and Start Prosecuting



Had enough

No stealing going on. ALEX SINK FOR GOVERNOR.

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