New court records reveal fmr. OOCEA board member Marco Pena has flipped on Chris Dorworth, Scott Batterson

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New documents have been uncovered shedding additional light on the scandal at the Orange County Expressway Authority.

Former board member Scott Batterson faces charges of bribery and solicitation, both felonies, as well as violating the Florida Sunshine Laws, a misdemeanor.

Former state Rep. Chris Dorworth faces similar charges, as does his girlfriend Rebekah Hammond.

Former board member Marco Pena, who previously made a deal with the state attorney’s office, is now the state’s star witness, according to Orlando News 13 reporter Caroline Rowland.

In about 300 pages of testimony, Pena describes the relationship with Batterson and Dorworth, describing how they both broke the law and violated the public trust.

The first meeting between Pena and State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s office was May 8, approximately one week after Batterson’s indictment on felony charges of bribery and solicitation.

During his testimony, Pena admitted that it was Dorworth and Batterson who facilitated his appointment to the Authority.

Soon after that, Marco Pena learned Dorworth and Batterson had been longtime friends, and Dorworth had an interest in business with the Expressway Authority.

The former state representative had been a lobbyist for Jim Palmer, who was to net $32 million from the Authority for the Wekiva Parkway project, according to Rowland.

Pena also revealed that during his time at the authority, he regularly sought advice from Dorworth on expressway business, specifically pertaining to the removal of Executive Director Max Crummit. Pena said he first discussed Crummit’s ouster at a July dinner at Christners.

Pena, Batterson, and Noranne Downs each voted to get rid of Max Crummit in August 2013.

Dorworth needed Crummit off the Authority board because he felt his client’s project was not moving fast enough. Dorworth attempted to get Marco Pena named as the board’s chair. Then, he wanted Pena to take on people from his inner circle, to ensure the approval of the Wekiva project.

Pena expressed his discomfort with Dorworth’s request to Ashton, and declined to pursue a leadership position.

Marco Pena testified that he did not believe at the time his conversations with Dorworth were violations of the law.

Earlier, Pena pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violation of the state’s sunshine law, paying a $500 penalty.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.