Saturday, January 31, 2009

Niceville Senator Disses College President

Earlier today we lamented that no one was demanding the resignation of Okaloosa County's "state college" president Bob Richburg. After all, he's surely as central to the grand jury probe of criminal wrong-doing as (former) Speaker of the House Ray Sansom.

Turns out, there is at least one person who is now suggesting that very thing: self-described Sansom "friend" Don Gaetz, a Republican state senator from Niceville.

The weekly Santa Rosa Press-Gazette in Milton reported today that Gaetz has issued a written statement more or less saying that Sansom had no choice except to step down as Speaker of the House while the grand jury investigates him. And, Gaetz added, Northwest Florida State College President Bob Richburg also "should 'face consequences' for his role in the botched hiring."

Not only did Gaetz diss Richburg, his remarks in a subsequent interview sound very much as if he might be trying to shift the blame to Richburg for the whole thing:
"I did not know that Ray was going to go to work for Bob Richburg or that it was going to be handled the way it was. Had I known it and had I been asked for advice from my good friend Ray, I would have warned him off."
"Warned him off?" Put aside the fact that Sansom really wasn't going to work for "Bob Richburg;" he was finagling a job from Richburg to work for the public. But is there a whiff of coolness -- maybe even disapproval -- in senator Gaetz' remarks about "Bob Richburg"?

It certainly sounds like that to us. Just as cool, in fact, as senator Gaetz' remarks last month to the Northwest Florida Daily News when he said -- rather crossly we thought -- that Richburg had never invited him "to a meeting of the Northwest Florida State College board of directors in my life."

Gaetz was, of course, referring to the college trustees "public" meeting arranged to take place in Tallahassee, as Richburg wrote in an email from Ft. Walton, because it was "the only way we can do it in privacy but with a public notice here."

Could the state senator be sending a signal to his "friend" Sansom? If he is, might that signal be, 'Better that you become witness for the prosecution than the other guy?'

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Don Gaetz was the superintendent of Okaloosa County schools before running for the Senate. The College is headquartered in Niceville.

Richburg is an unindicted principle in a lot of shady land deals in the county that generally feature Jay Odom, another slippery customer.

Gaetz was in real estate before entering politics, so he knows all about Richburg and Odom. If you shake hands with either one, count your fingers afterward.

People know that these guys are never on the up and up, but like Madoff they go along because they think there will be a huge profit.

We need better laws for these kinds of crooks.

Full disclosure, we threw Odom out of our town when he tried one of his "redevelopment" schemes here. UWF and NFSC have a shared campus in Fort Walton, and they barely speak because of some of the games that Richburg has pulled to take control of it. The land actually belongs to the Air Force and is leased to the two. It can only be used for academic purposes, which Richburg isn't being allowed to redefine as an industrial park for subleasing, among other things.