Gov. Charlie Crist ordered his inspector general to investigate the state’s top transportation officials’ use of code words in e-mails.
Crist made the request after Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink asked Crist for an internal investigation to find out if Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos (whom Crist appointed in 2007) and her deputy Kevin Thibault tried to hide their e-mails from public records review by giving the subject line of “pancake,” “pancakes” and “French Toast.”
The e-mails sent in November contained information about a proposed rail bill later approved by lawmakers during the special session that ended last week.
“Given our state’s proud and comprehensive public records laws, I remain concerned that DOT employees may have deliberately used these code words in an attempt to disguise their actions from the people of Florida. We live in the Sunshine State, and this is not the way the people’s business should ever be done,” Sink, the presumptive Democratic candidate for governor, wrote in a letter to Crist to Crist asking for the investigation.
Minutes after Sink’s office released her letter, Crist’s office sent out his response.
“I agree with the letter that was just received from Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. Accordingly, I have directed Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel to conduct an inquiry of the Department of Transportation,” Crist said in a statement.
Crist’s order for an investigation came after numerous demands for an inquiry from other sources.