Ethics Commission may walk away from $300,000 owed in fines

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From John Kennedy of the News Service of Florida: Gov. Rick Scott and Florida lawmakers are struggling to find dollars to close a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, but a state agency is considering walking away from more than $300,000 in fines owed by almost 300 former public officials.

The Florida Commission on Ethics has been urged by its executive director, Philip Claypool, to abandon efforts to collect penalties of as much as $1,500 each on elected and appointed officials who failed to file their state-required financial disclosure forms when they were due.

Most of the 280 officials cited formerly served on professional boards, soil and water districts, fire and rescue districts, and similar citizen boards which make up the low-minor leagues of state politics.

But at least one scofflaw, Joe Celestin, is a former North Miami mayor who unsuccessfully ran for the state Legislature and

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.