Fla. lawmaker, nonprofit want investigation into Bondi's firings

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 28, 2011, 10:18am


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- A Florida lawmaker, in a letter to Attorney General Pam Bondi, says he wants more information on the two assistant attorneys general who were recently fired by her office.

The assistant attorneys general, Theresa Edwards and June Clarkson, led foreclosure fraud investigations under former Attorney General Bill McCollum. The two were ousted last month for "poor performance."

In a letter dated Wednesday, Rep. Darren M. Soto pointed out that public records indicate that the terminations occurred while the two were in the midst of successful mortgage fraud litigation and "in spite of prior successful reviews."

"As a member who represents an area ravaged by foreclosure fraud, these terminations present an overwhelming public concern," he wrote.

Soto, a Democrat, represents Orange and Osceola counties.

In his letter to Bondi, he makes a request under the state's Public Records Act that her office provide him with "any and all records related to job performance" of Edwards and Clarkson within the past three years.

As part of the request, he also asks that Bondi's office provide a list of all case numbers for all currently active cases managed by Edwards and Clarkson and the amounts of any settlements, along with their case numbers, occurring within the past three years in cases managed by the two.

Soto isn't the only one looking for answers about the terminations.

Nonprofit Progress Florida also is calling for an investigation into Bondi's firings.

"It's bad enough Gov. Rick Scott is hard at work dismantling key consumer protections, but now he has a partner: our own Attorney General Pam Bondi. She seems to think her first duty is to protect some of Gov. Scott's biggest corporate pals -- the banks -- instead of hardworking Floridians," according to a page on the group's website.

The group is asking visitors to sign a petition calling on the Attorney General's Office of Inspector General to investigate Bondi's actions.

Progress Florida, founded in 2008, says its issues include social justice, health care reform, environmental protection, economic fairness and strengthening public policy.

"We advocate for sensible policy solutions and hold elected officials' feet to the fire by empowering citizens in their communities," according to its website.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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