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Fasano won't pay $10k public records bill; asks Haridopolos to subpoena documents

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has asked state Senate President Mike Haridopolos to subpoena the State Board of Administration for records pertaining to a deal struck with a company that has ties to SBA chief executive Ash Williams.

Fasano had previously made a public records request for the documents, but was told by Williams they would cost $10,750.13 to produce.

At issue is the SBA's decision to invest up to $125 million of public pension money in a hedge fund called Starboard Value and Opportunity, a spinoff of Ramius LLC. Williams signed off on the investment in early 2010 after exchanging e-mails with Ramius' president, Thomas Strauss. Strauss was a client at Fir Tree Partners, a hedge fund where Williams was a managing director before taking over the SBA in October 2008.

Williams said the firm was under consideration when he arrived at the SBA and won the deal on merit.

But Fasano asked for documentation to show how the decision was made.

Williams said the documents would have to be reviewed for confidentiality, and said in a letter in late August that the records would cost nearly $11,000.

"As a state senator representing 500,000 constituents, and a chair of an appropriations committee, I am appalled the SBA would throw this unbelievable hurdle in front of my access to public information," Fasano wrote Haridopolos. "I am requesting your help to obtain this important information."