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Attorney General race’

AG wars: Bondi camp calls Gelber a liar

Friday, October 8th, 2010 by Dara Kam

GOP attorney general candidate Pam Bondi’s campaign consultant called out her Democrat opponent Dan Gelber for “a distortion of the truth” in his new television ad.

In the ad, Gelber accuses Bondi of promising to “side with corporate interests” if she is elected.

“Dan Gelber’s first television ad is a disappointing distortion of the truth and in keeping with a career politician’s ‘win at all costs’ attitude. He talks about corruption but has no problem corrupting the truth. He made an allegation that wasn’t true and offered no evidence, because there is none,” Bondi campaign consultant Brett Doster said in a statement.

The ad refers to remarks Bondi’s made on the campaign trail pledging to side with the Florida Chamber of Commerce in fighting the union-backed card check issue and statements she’s made saying that “the last thing we need is an Eliott Spitzer-type” AG.

Gelber interpreted that to mean she won’t go after white-collar criminals as Spitzer, known as the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” did before he went down in flames after being caught with prostitutes.

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Gelber hammers Bondi over big business ties in first TV ad

Friday, October 8th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Dan Gelber slammed his GOP attorney general opponent Pam Bondi in his first campaign ad, accusing the former Tampa prosecutor of being too close to her business backers to go after corruption.

Bondi, who has never run for office before, won the endorsement of the state’s two biggest (and influential) business groups – the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida – in the three-way GOP primary and in the general race.

Gelber, a state senator and former federal prosecutor, has made going after public corruption one of his top priorities in the campaign.

“While she protects insiders, I’ll take them on,”

Attorney general debate scrubbed, Bondi won’t appear

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

Organizers canceled an Oct. 5 debate at the University of Florida between attorney general candidates Dan Gelber and Pam Bondi because Bondi won’t appear.

GOP hopeful Bondi, a former prosecutor from Tampa who’s never run for office before, has a “scheduling conflict” preventing her from participating in the debate hosted by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, her campaign spokeswoman Sandi Copes said. Copes could not immediately say what Bondi had to do that trumped the debate.

State senator Gelber, a former federal prosecutor who also served as House Democratic Leader, earned a reputation as one of the legislature’s top arguers during feisty floor debates.

UPDATE: McCollum: No merit to faulty PVC pipe lawsuit, state won’t join

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Bill McCollum said today that the state will not join a federal whistleblower lawsuit against a PVC pipe manufacturer accused of selling millions of dollars of faulty water and sewer lines to local governments on projects around the country.

McCollum said his office agreed with the U.S. Justice Department that the case is without merit.

“After we looked at it, we concluded the same thing. So we chose not to join in this one,” McCollum, who is running in a GOP primary against Sen. Paula Dockery for governor, said.

McCollum has a team of lawyers looking into about 150 whistleblower – or qui tam – lawsuits at any given time, he said.

McCollum said his office will announce its involvement in a similar case within a few days “but not this one.”

State Sen. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat running to replace McCollum, asked the attorney general yesterday to join four other states and dozens of cities, counties and water districts in the whistleblower suit filed in federal court in California.

Gelber bristled at McCollum’s reason for not joining the suit.

“That’s perplexing to me. Is the AG’s position that Florida won’t initiate an action unless the federal government does? I can’t believe that that is their position because that defeats the purpose of having your own attorney general who can vindicate the rights of your citizens,” Gelber said. “You must have got his quote wrong because no attorney general would cede the right of their citizens in that manner.”

A former employee of the company alleges that the pipes, used for sewer and water lines and supposed to last up to 50 years, leak and break as quickly as the first year of use and can rupture and explode.

Court documents show that Florida was among the governments initially involved in the lawsuit in 2006.

The allegedly faulty pipe was used in a Ft. Pierce project in 2003.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim that it will cost millions of dollars for local governments to dig up and replace the faulty sewer and water lines at a time when they can least afford it.

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