Florida juvenile justice chief Frank Peterman has reimbursed the state for nearly $27,000 in questionable taxpayer-funded travel between Tallahassee and Tampa, trips that allowed him to spend long weekends near St. Petersburg, where his wife and children live and where he still preaches at a Baptist church.
The two checks were drawn on an account at Achieva Credit Union in Largo, near St. Petersburg. They total $26,811. The repaid money is equal to a full year's salary for many, many state employees, and follows a highly critical report on Peterman's travel by Gov. Charlie Crist's chief inspector general that recommended Peterman repay the state as a form of "corrective action ... for travel not fully and completely justified as official state business."
Crist ordered the IG investigation after a Times/Herald report last November detailed Peterman's many flights to and from the capital and Tampa, along with extra penalties for last-minute changes to flights, luggage fees and extensive use of costlier short-term airport parking. The amount Peterman repaid the state includes all travel from Tallahassee to St. Petersburg as well as the excessive luggage fees and airline re-bookings.