What the latest revelation about bribery at the OOCEA suggests about Chris Dorworth

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On Monday, this blog did its best to connect some of the dots involved with the scandal besieging the Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority. At the the top of the post, we asked, “What the hell is going on with OOCEA?”

The answer, it appears, is much worse than even we imagined.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, OOCEA board member Scott Batterson offered the agency’s multimillion-dollar engineering contract to another company — if the firm were willing to hire some of his associates, according to documents released Tuesday by State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

Nearly 550 pages of records and interviews outline the basis of the April indictment that charged Batterson with three felonies, including bribery and soliciting compensation for official behavior.

As it happens, Batterson is but a supporting actor in this developing Greek tragedy. Reading the Sentinel article and the State Attorney’s report, the dark star of this story is, increasingly, former state Representative Chris Dorworth.

In fact, today’s Sentinel story very significantly widens the risk exposure for Dorworth like nothing else to date involving this scandal.

Relying on the SA report, the Sentinel paints a cynical picture of how Batterson shook down Mark Callahan of the engineeringfirm CH2MHill.

Until today’s story it was possible that Batterson was acting alone in the bribery solicitation. But, as the indictment and the Sentinel story makes clear, Dorworth was literally at the table the night when the bribe solicitation went down.

For many years on this blog, we have defended Chris Dorworth against accusations unrelated to the OOCEA. However, after reading the SA report and the Sentinel story, it’s difficult to believe Dorworth had no foreknowledge of why he was attending a dinner with a CH2MHill engineer.

 

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.