The final chapter in the Ray Sansom story has been written, in the form of a big check to Sansom's lawyers.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli approved payment of $600,000 in legal fees that Sansom, a former House speaker, ran up in successfully defending himself against criminal charges that ended his promising political career.
That's significantly less money than a judge had approved. "The House has reached a full settlement of all claims related to this litigation for $600,000. Payment has been made and the matter is now closed," Crisafulli said in a statement.
In one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the Florida Legislature, Sansom, a Destin Republican, relinquished his speakership in January 2009 under mounting pressure from House members. A grand jury later indicted him on grand theft and conspiracy charges for allegedly steering state money in 2007 to Northwest Florida State College for an emergency operations center that doubled as a aircraft hangar for a politically connected ally of Sansom's. At the time, Sansom was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee under then-Speaker Marco Rubio.