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State Ethics Commission Finds Sheriff Fleming in Violation Over Hammock Gift Membership

| October 19, 2012

Sheriff Don Fleming. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 5:02 p.m.

In a decision that may seriously damage his re-election chances in less than three weeks, the Florida Commission on Ethics today found probable cause that Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming violated the state code of ethics when he accepted a free, gift membership to the Hammock Beach Resort, and subsequently, for years, accepted meals at discount there–gifts not offered to the general public.

The 7-3 decision by the 10-member ethics panel–made up of five Republicans and five Democrats–is the result of an ethics complaint filed against Fleming in April by James Williams, a former Hammock Beach Resort employee, who said in his complaint that Fleming approached him in 2005 and asked if he could obtain a gift membership to the club. Williams had also worked at the sheriff’s office on Fleming’s watch, for just six months between 2007 and 2008, when he was fired without cause.

Soon after the complaint was filed, Fleming said he’d done nothing wrong, describing the membership as having “no dollar value.” That was not accurate. A one-time initiation fee levied at property owners in the development costs $20,000, with annual dues approaching $5,000 for member access to the resort’s many amenities.

In a news release issued by the sheriff’s office this afternoon, Fleming maintained a level of innocence: “Although the Ethics Commission concluded that the honorary membership should be been reported, until their investigation was completed, I did not know the honorary membership was valued at more than $100,” he said.

But the ethics commission does not accept ignorance of the law as a defense, nor is the gift membership considered “honorary,” since it had monetary value and was, in fact, a gift.

The release goes on to state that “the Sheriff said when he accepted the membership, it was his understanding that he would pay for meals. He said he did not use any other facilities at the resort, other than the dining room.” And it quotes Fleming again: “Once I learned that the meals had been discounted and that the membership could be considered a gift under the ethics laws, I reimbursed the resort for the full amount of the discounts and resigned my membership.”

Fleming reportedly paid some $4,000 back to the resort.

Fleming is in a tight re-election race against Jim Manfre, the former sheriff and Fleming’s challenger four years ago, when Manfre lost by less than 1,000 votes. Manfre wasted no time seizing on the commission’s findings.


“It shows that the sheriff has embarrassed this community, those he has pledged to protect and serve, and he’s embarrassed the sheriff’s office by the finding that he in fact has violated the code of ethics. It’s been recently reported that Florida has one of the highest rates of corruption of any state, and it’s been reported that the ethics code needs to be tightened in order to prevent corruption, and one of the basic ways that public officials are corrupted is by accepting gifts from organizations for no other reason than the fact that they are public officials. So he’s violated a basic public trust by accepting this gift, then he violated the law by not reporting it. The ethics code is a law and he’s violated the law. It’s that simple. He’s the top law enforcement official in our community, and he’s now been charged with violating the law, so his credibility as a top law enforcement officer has now been injured. It’s now broken.”

Williams, who filed the ethics charge, is a supporter of Manfre’s candidacy.

Florida law doesn’t bar public officials from receiving gifts. But if the gifts exceed $100, they must be disclosed on the official’s quarterly gift disclosure form (Form 9). In September 2009, for example, Fleming reported receiving a replica firearm from Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, a gift valued at $189.50. In 2007, he reported getting a $150 gift certificate to the Marriott Sawgrass Hotel and Spa, from St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar. In July 2006, he reported receiving a $1,000 diamond pendant, won in a drawing, and gifted from Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.

The ethics commission’s official order regarding the Fleming case won’t be published until Wednesday, when it will shed more details on the commission’s reasoning and findings of probable cause. The commission’s spokeswoman neither confirmed nor denied so much as the existence of a case pending against Fleming, as is the commission’s right under the law, until the order is officially made public. It was somewhat surprising that the sheriff’s office disclosed the matter before Wednesday, though in several internal regards, the sheriff’s office has been at times quite forthcoming with information.

The next step for the commission is to levy a fine against Fleming, which could be in the hundreds of dollars or in the thousands of dollars.

Fleming is still entitled to a hearing before the full commission, should he decide to dispute the charges. From today’s statements, it appears that Fleming will not do so. Disputing the commission’s findings entails what amounts to something very similar to a trial, where the defendant may bring witnesses and have his or her case argued before the commission, which sits in judgment. That level of litigation can be time-consuming and expensive.

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50 Responses for “State Ethics Commission Finds Sheriff Fleming in Violation Over Hammock Gift Membership”

  1. NotSurprised says:

    If he got caught on this one, how many did he get away with? A lot of people know the sheriff is a party animal, a cigar aficionado, a connoisseur of fine wines and spirits. He is well known in popular watering holes around town. He was a special fan of the best resort in town with the best restaurants and cigar bars – the Hammock Beach Resort. He is a legend in that fine establishment. Kudos to the Commision for appropriately finding the sheriff in violation of ethics rules. Like someone said, our beloved sheriff acts more like Don Corleone (one of my all time favorite movie characters) than Don Fleming, the chief LEO of our fine county. He might make a great actor with his myriad experiences and his colorful life, but do we want him to be our sheriff?

  2. bq says:

    There you go “Ignorance of the law is no excuse!”

  3. Clint says:

    Wait, let me get this straight. A police chief takes a little “favor” from a business. Regardless of this election and if he is my choice or not, but cops have been TAKEN little favors for as far back as the caveman got an extra bone for watching over the tribe. I wonder who else in a public office in this county has TAKEN a little favor from citizens and businesses ?

    • peggy says:

      Still does not make it right. he is law enforcement. if he does not obey, why should the people?

    • Magnolia says:

      Clint, this is not a free donut we are talking about here. it is a free membership to the most exclusive club in town.

      This is NOT a little favor. I for one am sick of political favoritism in any form. Do your job LEGALLY, or face the consequences.

      This commission came to the right decision.

  4. Yellowstone says:

    I wonder if there is some relationship between the Sheriff and the folks who run that place?

    “Nothing like having a ‘friend’ on the inside”, they say.

    I wonder, too, if someone handed me a ‘free’ $40,000 membership and discounted meals, what they might expect in return.

    “No such thing as a free lunch”, they say.

    (There was a TV show like this a few years back. Was it the Dukes of Hazard?)

  5. 4horsepoor says:

    His lapse in judgement and his disregard of the law speaks volumes.

  6. NotSurprised says:

    Ignorantia juris non excusat. Surely the head of the law enforcement organization of our fair county knows that, doesn’t he? If not, he should consider opening the cell doors of the county jail and release most if not all inmates, because surely they will claim they didn’t know they were breaking the law. Give me a break Don, surely you knew a membership card to the county’s best resort, a card you took frequent and full advantage of, had value in excess of $100! You just didn’t think you would get caught. Really, it’s time to retire. Maybe the Hammock Beach Resort will give you an executive position.

  7. Ray Thorne says:

    A party animal? The guy is 66 years old. My vote is still with him. Ethics violation for a membership where he ate food. Yes Mr Manfre, that is the crime of the century isn’t it? Fleming for Sheriff AGAIN!!!

    • NotSurprised says:

      Mr. Thorne, perhaps you haven’t heard of a gentleman named Hugh Hefner? Just because he is 66 doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the good life. I used to work at Hammock Beach, and Don was a frequent patron and yes, a legend at that great resort. I have never met Manfre so anything I know about him is from reading FlaglerLive. I’m not even sure I will vote for him. However, I do know that, at least at this time and place in the history of our fair city, Don is not suitable anymore. I voted for Don in previous elections, I liked him personally, and I thought he was very qualified in the past, but not anymore. People change.

    • Girl says:

      I agree, so he likes to go out and eat – the job is stressful, so now he can’t go out in Public? someone really really wants he job… what else is he not allowed to do????

      • Umm says:

        Girl,
        His job, stressful? If you consider making $120,000 a year, accepting gifts in excess of an additional $25,000 a year, promoting all of his friends in the sheriffs office, etc, etc, etc stressful – then yes, I suppose his job is “stressful.” Heck, in that case, I want his stressful job. I think the most stressful thing about his job is keeping track of all of his lies and falsities. Being sheriff is nothing but a big political game. He’s a politican, not a cop. And for the record, you don’t even have to be a certified LEO to be a sheriff.

        • Girl says:

          To Umm:

          His friends get promotions..?.All of them were on board when he became Sheriff, & Yea guess your right… you don’t have to be LEO certified to be a Sheriff… just look at Manfre…and what a wonderful job he did… Ha… Fleming won twice, three times will be the charm..

    • Magnolia says:

      Mr. Thorne, I don’t think it is too much to expect a Sheriff who obeys the law to the letter. This is disgusting.

      Unfriggingbelievable. A crooked cop. No, I am not settling. I believe we have a write in candidate in this race, do we not? I’m voting for Janet McDonald.

      No legal charges pending that I am aware of…

  8. Jim Neuenfeldt says:

    If your going to be fair…
    Mr. Manfre knows all about ethics. He was taught well in the city of Babylon New York, with a garbage contract no less.

  9. Flagler County Residet says:

    Sorry to hear this; however, there is still only one choice for the office of Sheriff and that is Fleming. Too many people weren’t here, or conveniently forget, the problems we had when Manfre was sheriff. Neither man is perfect, but I still will vote for Fleming.

  10. Robert Lewis says:

    Well calculated assault by Jim Manfre.

    I find myself not wanting to vote for the incumbent or the democratic challenger.
    I think I am going to write a candidate in.

  11. glad fly says:

    don fleming for sheriff. he will win in a landslide. good luck mr. fleming.

  12. glad fly says:

    by the way i question the timing.

  13. Ray Thorne says:

    I would like to know what “law” Fleming violated when according to the ethics commission, a violation of accepting gifts of more than $100 is a civil infraction.

  14. LAWABIDINGCITIZEN says:

    THIS SEEMS PRETTY FUNNY, THAT THE EMPLOYEE WHO WAS FIRED FROM THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE A FEW YEARS BACK IS THE SAME GUY WHO FILES THE COMPLAINT AGAINST THE SHERIFF… AND HE IS ALSO A MANFRE SUPPORTER. AND IF ANYBODY KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT EMPLOYMENT WITH THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE, IF YOU ARE THERE FOR LESS THAN A YEAR, YOUR ON PROBATIONARY STATUS, WHICH MEANS, THEY DONT NEED A REASON TO TERMINATE YOU. SO, MY VOTE IS STILL WITH DON!!!

    • Magnolia says:

      LAWABIDINGCITIZEN: Nothing funny about any of it. There is no room anywhere in law enforcement for a Sheriff who accepts “favors”.

  15. bernieL says:

    The people that still plan to vote for Flemming after this incident, after everything else this man has done, must be crooked as well. I think offering a discount or even a free meal to cops in town is great and there’s no reason to not do so, but this man took a gift worth more than a small free meal. The fact that all he had to do was claim the gift in order for it to be on record and he couldn’t even do that. That should obviously throw up a red flag to everyone, why would he try to hide it. This man is crooked and full of lies. This man has done nothing for this community and will proceed to do nothing until he is voted out. How can people justify what he does? It makes me sick, he’s done enough damage to this county, it is time we vote him out. MANFRE all the way!!! MANFRE has my vote 100%!!!!!

  16. Hank Rearden says:

    There is another choice in this election. Janet O. McDonald is a genuine write in candidate for Flagler County Sheriff (even if Doug Baxter and power brokers at the Chamber of Commerce want to silence her).

    Who is John Galt?

  17. Dudley DorightFor those of you that says:

    For those of you who moved to Palm Coast after Bobby Ginn left the area you need to know how he worked our politicians. I would argue that his antics could be characterized as those similar to thos of the character Harold Hill in the “Music Man” Ginn was a supernova to the politicans of Flagler County at the time.

    OK, Don Fleming took the free Ginn Resort pass. People, do you seriously believe is was the only one of the politicians to do so? Ginn did not work that way. He loved to entice and win over politicians by doing little things for them such as the free card. While Mr. Fleming is the only caught so far, you got to believe there are others who received this gift despite their denial. Let the FBI or FDLE have access to the resort records and see what politicians pop up! Once a law enforcement investigation begins on this issue, let’s see who “lawyers up”.

  18. rocket says:

    Gzzzzzz people, you want a sheriff or a layman/attorney,,,go back into Manfre’s past.

    I think MORE people need to support the man that DOES protect us and HAS lower the crime here in Flager county, NOT someone that likes to stir up dirt..Look under Manfre’s shoes…….

    You have my VOTE, Don…

  19. Retired LEO says:

    After 34 yrs. law enforcement from New Orleans. I learned one thing, ther BAD guys are coming if not already here. Wait one moment while I make a phone call….I’m back. I just called the Sheriff’s office for help! I was put on hold, wrong number. I didn’t want an attorney I wanted the police not a get out of jail free stop. I want a REAL policeman.
    I’m retired from LEO because I was lucky enough to have had training from a “real” police officer and am alive today because of just that.
    You have my vote Don…

  20. NotSurprised says:

    Listen friends, Don got caught with his hands in the cookie jar! This, in tandem with his odd behavior in the Fischer/Pecqueur hit-and-run case, his refusal to fire a deputy who was, in effect, stealing from the department, and many other questionable incidents involving him (including his recent involvement in the possibly unfair firing of two young workers over a verbal argument with his step-daughter), makes it crystal clear to me Don is not suitable for the highest law enforcement job in our county. As I said before, I voted for him in the past and personally liked (and still like) him as a person. But the incidents in the last few years have shown that he has lost his grip on reality. Perhaps he is just burnt out and tired, which could possibly explain these lapses in his judgement. In speaking with rank and file of the department, I for one am convinced he is just a figure-head now and all the leadership work is done by the Chief and other direct-reports. Don wants to still be Sheriff for three simple reasons: continued salary (which he couldn’t make elsewhere), a fatter pension, and his EGO. Time to hang up the guns, Don, and enjoy the good life in Palm Coast. Have you really made it clear WHY you want a third term?

  21. Lonewolf says:

    I’d never vote for anyone caught asking for bribes…would you?

  22. Lonewolf says:

    It’s my belief that many republicans will vote for the republican on the ballot simply because he has an R after his name. If he had embezzled $1 million and fixed tickets and let his friends break the law…he would STILL get votes from some of these commentors on here.

  23. Pierre Tristam says:

    Folks, let me be very clear: this story is about the Florida Commission on Ethics finding Sheriff Don Fleming in violation of the Florida Code of Ethics. You want to discuss that, great. But please don’t use this thread to make undocumented allegations about either candidate, or about anyone else for that matter. You comments won’t be approved. So don’t waste our time or yours. We’re not here to let nameless shills flack for their favorite candidate behind cowardly anonymity, and we’re certainly not here to be anyone’s punching bag. You’re free to bitch and slander to your heart’s content of course. Just don’t do it on our time and in our pages.

  24. confidential says:

    Maybe, his free membership was pay back from Bobby Ginn to keep clean his Hammock Beach Resort good name, by labeling the Kevin-Belinda Henderson and their 12 year old daughter Cori’s, death
    “murder suicide” in 2006 inside their millionaire leased unit in Hammock Beach, while they were waiting for the right time to build in a parcel they owned in the same resort.
    That man, Kevin Henderson, former past local Chamber of Commerce President, Rotary member, his wife Auditorium Board Chair involved in the biggest local charities especially for the elderly and youth, adored his child and wife, did not kill his family and himself with a plastic bag over their heads… This case needs to be reopened, in spite that their bodies were cremated. Who lost good money with their investment advise, like any of us did on our own, in the stock market when it collapsed and decide to take revenge?
    http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/072406/met_22395436.shtml.
    None of us are safe anymore unless justice is done.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think James Williams made the right choice, albeit a dangerous one, imo.

    Is there more information somewhere on Janet McDonald? Haven’t heard of her but would like to know about her background, education, skills and experience.

  26. Jim Neuenfeldt says:

    Just so people don’t get too confused.
    Here are a couple of quotes from the article:
    “the Florida Commission on Ethics today found probable cause that Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming violated the state code of ethics ”
    “Fleming is still entitled to a hearing before the full commission, should he decide to dispute the charges. ”
    “The ethics commission’s official order regarding the Fleming case won’t be published until Wednesday sic(October 24th, 2012) ”

    Those 3 lines are very important.
    Probable Cause is very different than a finding of guilt.
    As it stands now, There is an official charge (if you relate it to the way Criminal charges are filed and handled.)
    Sheriff Fleming just like any other person or elected official now has the choice to #1 Plead Guilty and accept punishment (Fine), or #2. Plead no contest, which is not an admission of guilt but just says he is not fighting it and accept punishment. #3. Fight the charge and require a vote by the whole panel.

    I don’t know what he is going to do.
    I will support him no matter which of the choices he makes, because he is a good leader. Looks out for his Deputies, and the citizens and visitors to Flagler County alike. It is few and far between when an elected official is capable of doing all of that and Don Fleming has shown time and time again that is exactly what he does. I am sure there is a group who doesn’t want him as sheriff. Probably the ones currently in the Jail, or those destined to end up there.

  27. rocket says:

    To Jim N;

    You couldn’t have put it any better or clearer.

    Sheriff Fleming’s record speaks for itself and his loyality towards his men and the public.
    For all he’s done for this county (which has grown over the past 8 years) from managing the “tight” budget to making sure we’ll all protected, I think he’s done 110% for Flagler county.
    If you’ve ever had the privilege to speak to him one on one, his professionalism is no less than perfect.

    This IS the kind of sheriff you want to have and keep.

  28. Anon says:

    Of course some voters don’t see any reason NOT to vote for a law enforcement officer whose integrity DOES NOT appear to be above reproach.

    The same people probably voted for Rick Scott.

  29. deana carmen says:

    Sometimes it is hard for a person to accept that a friend could do anything wrong, however in Fleming’s case this appears to be a habit. But the fact is Fleming accepted a gift that should have been reported. At this point it would be difficult for Fleming to plead innocent, since he has admitted to:

    A) Not knowing it was wrong to accept this gift,
    B) Has already started to pay back the discounts he received and
    C) admitted he spoke with an attorney before accepting the gift.

    What everyone is missing is that the problem is not receiving the gift, it is Fleming’s failure to report receipt of the gift over and over again. It is obvious that some here do not have a problem with elected officials that accept gifts and then lie about it, elected officals that purposely attempt to deceive the public, elected officials that dole out favors to friends or attempt to deceive authorities about their involvement in criminal or suspicious behavior. Thank goodness there are many who expect more from their elected officials.

  30. emile says:

    Don Fleming still has my vote. This is a small town and we appreciate our LEOs. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t understand that just because he didn’t use the golf club, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t given a free membership. In his own way, he tried to use this membership ethically, only using it for meals, and paying his tab promptly. And when called out on the matter, he immediately reimbursed the club for the discounts. I see the fine hand of the Ronald Regan Assembly here, and their support of Stevens for sheriff.

  31. Reality Check says:

    I will bet that the person who filed the claim (a terminated Deputy) will get a position if Manfre wins, talk about embarrassing the community. Mr. Manfre not only embarrassed himself and the department on many occasions, but he clearly showed he is an ego maniac; why vote for a proven loser. Fleming may have a battle scar but I would never consider putting Manfre back into an office he is not qualified to run in the first place.

  32. Dudley DorightFor those of you that says:

    the one thing that really scares the hell out of me is that if Manfre wins, Ray Stevens will get a high position in the Manfre administration. So much for the farcial vetting of Republicans and the RRRA crap!

  33. confidential says:

    Wether elected or appointed some officials in Flagler county were and probably are still fraudulently manipulating their positions for profit…next trial involves a past FC charity “elite VP” and family, that duped us all for years in spite the red flags, ignored because (like now) staunch local buddy elite support.:
    Trial begins for sister of ex-Family Life Center director in Flagler County….search the NJ link.

    I can’t believe that a member of the State Ethical Violations Commission in Tallahassee has the nerve to say “My feeling is that he (Fleming) paid back the money, that’s good thing and I admire that”.
    To which we should all reply he paid some money back, because he was caught red handed!!
    I wonder what would have been the outcome if instead of Fleming, would have been a Democrat sheriff.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      Are you really comparing the two? Fleming did not steal from anyone. It was a membership. He ate food. It is not a crime.

      • deana carmen says:

        Ray, it was a FREE membership. The words FREE and ELECTED OFFICIAL should never be used in the same sentence. #1 This was a membership available only to those who resided within that Community. #2 Fleming received a 20% discount on each of his meals. #3 Receiving a gift is not the problem. This issue is his failure to report the gift. Failure to report leaves him open to accusations of improprieties. He knew he needed to report this gift, it was no different than the other gifts he has received and reported.

        And to those that think everything should go away because #1 Fleming suddenly realized he was getting a discount – he knew he was getting a discount each month when he opened his statement from the Resort. #2 Fleming paid back the thousands of dollars in discounts he received – if that were the case then every thief who robbed a bank or stole a car or picked someone’s pocket would be let go if they would pay back the amount they illegally obtained.

        But most importantly, FREE is not something any public official should be accepting. Maybe in Jersey that is how things are done, but in the State of Forida one of the first classes in the police academy is ethics and taking FREE stuff is the number one topic. Just think how many FREE meals your beloved sheriff has gotten in his 28 years in law enforcement.

        I am one resident that has enough of him, his bawdy goon friends, his immoral behavior and the embarrassment he is to law enforcement.

  34. Jim Neuenfeldt says:

    While Deana Carmen may be right in her opinion, she is also only looking at one side of the story.
    It takes 2 to tango they say, so where is the outrage toward the club that made available the memberships to begin with and where are their records regarding what other elected officials if any also was given “free gratis’.

    I’m asking because logic tells me that the Sheriff wasn’t the only one, and in looking at the other reports of elected officials…. I don’t see where they reported it either! Although I have seen them at functions on the property and in conversations seem to be very familiar with the property, staff, and functions happening there.

    Bottom line… I smell a rat. A disgruntled person who wants to create havoc for 1 person, not the gifts, the process or the gift giver, and that folks is just dirty politics not justice for anybody!

    Don is a good guy in my opinion, and I think he and the Officers as FCSO deserve another 4 years! They do a great job, have come a very very long way, and are an asset to Flagler County. What they don’t need is a politician with revenge on his brain for being outed 8 years ago. Here’s a unique question? If you were let go from a job, and wanted it back, how much schooling would you have undertaken to make yourself better at the job you lost? Now how much school do you think Mr. Manfre has completed in his last 8 years?

  35. fed up says:

    I konw this may upset the applecart but this question needs to be addressed… attended the N.A.A.C.P. forum today and listened to Janet McDonald mention Sheriff Fleming’s health and physical condition. The question is …. should a person running for politcal office, especially that of Sheriff, should their health and physical condition be considered when voting??? Let’s face it the Sheriff is a heavy drinker, smoker and MORBIDLY obese. He probably has high blood pressure, high colesterol, gout, possibly diabetes? hip problems? amongst other possible ailments. He is 68 yrs old and has been short of breath when speaking at the forums. doubt very much he could pass a stress test. Should all of these factors be considered when placing your vote? yes or no???

  36. NotSurprised says:

    Deana, I agree with you to a certain extent. However, I believe accepting this gift WAS a problem, hence it went unreported. Haven’t we all heard the phrase “spirit of the law” as opposed to “letter of the law”? Don knew this very well, and he was aware he was violating the “spirit” of the law, therefore he conveniently failed to report this gift. I’ve read in this column that it is okay for Florida politicians and elected officials to receive gifts as long as such gifts are reported. The fact notwithstanding that Florida is one of the most corrupt states in the Union, there has to be either an explicit or implicit limit to the value of the gift. I’ve read some public and private organizations put a $10 limit on gifts. Anything above that has to either be returned or reported, then distributed amongst the members of the organization, depending on the nature of the gift. “Gifts” to public/elected officials can easily be viewed as “attempted bribes” without a stretch of the imagination. Favors of omission or commission being the value expected or rendered in return. If the Hammock Beach Resort gave Don a plaque for his office, or a gift certificate for a dinner for two, or even a weekend getaway package valued at at least $1,000, he would have probably reported it. Even in that case, with the possible exception of the plaque, one could question the motivation behind the gift and the official’s acceptance. But this is something totally different. This “gift” was worth thousands of dollars, and it should have never been offered or accepted. Surely the officials and lawmakers who crafted the ethics rules requiring reporting of gifts would agree. Don knew that the acceptance of this type of gift would set tongues wagging and would be severely frowned upon by honest people, so paragon of virtue that he is (not!), what does he do? Instead of politely declining it, he accepts it but doesn’t report it. Even people who like Don personally can see that this is a form of bribery, can’t they? And, if, as some have reported it, Don solicited the resort for this gift, one can see that as a form of extortion. Regardless of the upcoming election and your party affiliation, please think about the whole issue: the solicitation of the gift, the resort’s acquiescence in offering the gift, both parties’ motivation, the dollar value of the gift, and finally the non-reporting of the gift. There’s something rotten in the state of Florida!

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