Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pancakes Are More Than For Breakfast

CFO Alex Sink is demanding the resignation of Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos and her aide Kevin Thibault. The latter sent emails to Kopelousos with the code words "pancake," "pancakes" and "french toast." The two were not making plans to hit Denny's grand slam breakfast menu. The words refered to the CSX contract for the recently approved Sunrail deal. The Sunshine law requires all government business be conducted in the open. Kopelousos gave an explanation that doesn't pass the laugh test.

"There was nothing more, nothing less than just that," said Kopelousos, appointed by Crist in 2007. "We were not trying to circumvent any public records request. It was just a mere eye-catcher so I would look at the e-mail."

Sink sent an email out to supporters demanding the immediate removal of Kopelousos and Thibault.

Dear Friend,

Like many of you, I woke up Monday only to learn that Florida Department of Transportation officials -- including Transportation Secretary Kopelousos -- may have deliberately used code words like “pancakes” and “waffles” during the back-room crafting of commuter rail legislation in order to disguise their communications and avoid the scrutiny of public record requests.

Apparently, these government officials, YOUR government officials, may have decided "pancakes" aren't just for breakfast anymore -- but, instead, are a way to duck transparency and cover their actions.

It's not cute, nor clever. It is outrageous. We have to change the way that the people's business is done in Tallahassee. That means holding our state government accountable and ensuring that Florida officials are living up to our state’s name -- and reputation -- as The Sunshine State.

That's why I called on Governor Charlie Crist to investigate this violation of Florida's "Sunshine Law" and hold every government official involved in this scheme accountable.

If Secretary Kopelousos and her staff have been hiding their communications from the people of Florida, they should immediately resign. Floridians deserve better than the deceptive conduct that has become commonplace in Tallahassee.

It's time to let the sunshine in and hold the career politicians accountable. Please forward this email to everyone you know -- and make sure Tallahassee knows that we're watching.

Gov. Charlie Crist originally defended Kopelousos. After catching heat from Republican State Senator Paula Dockery, Crist asked the state's inspector general to investigate the emails. My experience is Florida ethics investigations tend to go nowhere. What works against Kopelousos is Crist, Sink and Dockery are running for office. Crist doesn't need the hassle and Sink and Dockery are running as reformers.

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At December 19, 2009 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope Crist doesn't need the hassle enough to get rid of Kappe...whatever her name is at FL DOT. That whole agency is rife with corruption.

At January 16, 2010 10:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her first name is Stavroula.


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