Dueling complaints over state plane useby Dara Kam | July 1st, 2009
A Democratic activist filed an ethics complaintt against Attorney General Bill McCollum yesterday charging the Republican candidate for governor with misuse of the state plane, including a trip to West Palm Beach.
The complaint came later the same day a state employee and Gov. Charlie Crist appointee filed a similar complaint against Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat, for the same thing. Sink is also running for governor.
A Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times investigation found that Sink and McCollum each used the planes dozens of times to ferry them to their homes and not for official state business as required by law.
The complaint against McCollum filed by Kenneth Quinnell, a Tallahassee Democrat, charges that the attorney general’s misuse of the state plane included a trip to West Palm Beach on Feb. 19.
McCollum ordered an empty state plane to pick him up at a private airport in Sanford near his Longwood home in Central Florida. He took the plane to Sarasota then to West Palm Beach. The plane returned to Tallahassee empty, which taxpayers must pay for, and McCollum took the next day, Friday, off.
A Department of Management Services, which oversees the state’s executive aircraft pool, draft audit of Cabinet members’ state plane use found that there was potential abuse by high-priority state officials. But the final audit released to the public did not include that information.
Sink ordered her office to investigate the state plane use.