Pam bondi Archives - Page 6 of 48 - Florida Politics

Ashley Moody promises no other political aspirations than becoming AG

By all indications, Ashley Moody was an extremely successful judge in Hillsborough County for more than a decade before stepping down from the bench earlier this year.

Ultimately, Moody wanted to make a bigger impact in Florida, she said during a nine-minute appearance Tuesday night before the Tampa Bay Young Republicans. Read more

Discussing Confederate monuments, Adam Putnam warns not to ‘sanitize history’

Adam Putnam said Monday he remains opposed to removing Confederate monuments, including the one situated in front of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee.

“The important thing is for our society to rise up and stand together and send a clear statement that (hate) won’t be tolerated in this country,” said Putnam, speaking to reporters after meeting with supporters at a Temple Terrace restaurant.

“It’s far more important to focus on eradicating hate today than focus on sanitizing history. The issues today are what we should be focused on. And when we see that type of ugliness in our society, whether it’s in Charlottesville, or Gainesville, or anywhere else, it’s important that we call it for what it is.”

Putnam was asked if that meant he disagreed with the Hillsborough County Commission voting to relocate a 106-year-old statue currently located in front of a county courthouse annex in Tampa.

“What it means is that I am entirely focused on sending a clear message that we don’t tolerate hate, and we don’t tolerate anti-Semitism, and we don’t tolerate white supremacy, and we don’t tolerate bigotry of any kind of any form,” he replied, declining to specifically address the situation in Hillsborough County.

“It’s also important that we apply the lessons of history today and the future,” he added. “If you don’t know your history you’re going to repeat the mistakes of the past. I think it’s important that people know the horrors of the Holocaust. I think it’s important that people know the horrors of what happened on 9/11. It’s important that we learn what happens to the world, when evil is allowed to prevail.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who is also running for governor, has called on Governor Rick Scott to remove the Confederate monument from the Capitol ever since the violence in Charlottesville occurred nine days ago. When Putnam was asked last week if he agreed with Gillum, he said he was not aware of the statue’s existence.

Gillum chided Putnam for that remark on MSNBC on Sunday.

“My response to that is, what a luxurious place to be,” Gillum told host Joy Reid. “The fact that you don’t have to be aware that these kinds of symbol of division and derision greet people as they enter the Old Capitol.”

The gubernatorial field has increased in the past week with Clearwater state Senator Jack Latvala formally entering the race. Putnam declined to speak about Latvala and, instead, said he was focused on his “positive, conservative vision for the future of Florida and who believe that my agricultural experience and public service combined to provide the type of leadership that Florida needs.”

Latvala and others have been criticized Putnam for his rush to demonstrate his fealty to the NRA, including tweeting that he was a “proud sell-out to the NRA.” Putnam said Monday he wouldn’t back away from his strong advocacy for the organization.

“I’m a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment,” he said. “I’m a life member. All my kids are life members. My son got a shotgun for his baptism present. It’s no secret to anyone that I’m a pro gun candidate and a pro gun individual. Even if I wasn’t running for governor, it’d be no secret that I support Second Amendment rights and the NRA.”

Putnam chatted with reporters following a 25-minute version of his basic stump speech at Lupton’s Buffet in what his campaign said was the 13th “Up & Adam” campaign breakfast since he announced his gubernatorial candidacy back in May. The speech again touched on his revised pitch about Florida being a “reward for a life well lived someplace else.”

“I think and I believe that with your help, if we put Florida first, we’ll make Florida the launch pad for the American dream, instead of just the Cherry on top,” he said.

Among those in attendance to hear Putnam included Attorney General Pam Bondi, House District 58 Republican candidate Yvonne Fry and former Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober.

Rick Scott, Cabinet members OK Venezuela investment ban

With no discussion, Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet Wednesday approved a policy to forbid any investments benefiting the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Scott, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Pam Bondi sit as Trustees of the State Board of Administration, which oversees state investments.

The state currently has no investments that involve Venezuela, Ash Williams, the SBA’s executive director & chief investment officer, told reporters.

Scott, widely expected to run for U.S. Senate next year, has championed opposition to President Maduro, calling out the government for placing opposition leader Leopoldo López under house arrest after he was released from prison following a 3-year sentence for leading anti-government protests.

“It’s disgusting what’s happening down there,” Scott said Tuesday. “Maduro needs to step down; he needs to release all political prisoners; we need democracy again.”

The policy bans any investments by the state’s $193 billion pension plan that would benefit the government of Venezuela, including “any securities issued by the government of Venezuela or any company that is majority-owned by the government of Venezuela.”

It will last “until such time as the SBA determines it is otherwise prudent to do so,” it says. Legislation (SB 70) also has been filed for the 2018 Session that would ban the state from doing business with the Maduro government or companies financially tied to it, including Goldman Sachs.

Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, the Miami-Dade Democrat who filed the bill, released a statement later Wednesday that, as of June, “the SBA holds 687,581 shares of Goldman Sachs stock worth $147,135,458 and $171,071,885 in Goldman Sachs bonds/paper and the SBA has several agreements with Goldman Sachs to manage funds.”

“The people of Venezuela need us to side with them not just in word, but also in deed,” Rodríguez said in the statement. “I welcome the SBA’s initial step and look forward to continuing to work with them on taking concrete steps to support the Venezuelan people during a deepening political and economic crisis of Maduro’s making.”

Williams said the pension plan is roughly 85 percent funded; the “unfunded liability” is the difference between the money it has and the money it needs to cover current and expected future payouts.

But financial experts generally call pension plans healthy if they’re at least 80 percent funded. That’s because employees retire at different times, making a virtual ‘run on the bank’ unlikely.

The latest guidance will be incorporated into the state’s Investment Policy Statement, Williams added. “It doesn’t have to be there, but we think it’s better that it be there,” he said.

“I think what we have done today, based on an analysis of the facts, the law and our fiduciary obligations, is completely appropriate,” Williams told reporters.

Ashley Moody’s ready to take over as AG on ‘Day One’

In the race for Florida’s next attorney general, former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody has emerged as the early front-runner.

That perception is not based on name recognition, since as a judge she rarely had the opportunity to make news, but on two other relevant pieces of evidence — her prodigious fundraising since declaring her candidacy in early June, and that she’s a member of the Republican Party, the dominant party in statewide elections in Florida for the past two decades.

Despite the fact that she’s won the endorsement from current AG Pam Bondi and seemingly every Republican in Hillsborough County, she remains a cipher to most of the state, which made her appearance before the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee on Tuesday night a noteworthy event.

Moody spent most of her 13-minute speech giving context to her impressive resume. A fifth-generation Floridian who went to Plant High School in South Tampa, Moody attended the University of Florida and was appointed to the state’s Board of Regents while still at Stetson Law School by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

She then went through the rest of her professional biography, beginning as a defense attorney at Holland and Knight, where worked she worked on business disputes.

Acknowledging how the court system is an adversarial process, the 42-year-old Moody said it was ironic, since “I really don’t like fighting, I don’t like acrimony. I like working on problems and trying to solve problems together. That’s my nature.”

Saying she wanted to get into the courtroom more, she became a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Middle Attorney’s office during the George W. Bush era, where she worked under U.S. Attorney Paul Perez, first in Jacksonville, then in Tampa.

“It was a great experience, and I loved standing up and saying I was Ashley Moody and I represented the United States of America.”

At the age of 31, she decided she wanted to get into the family business, which was to become a judge, following in the footsteps of her father and stepfather. She won an election for Hillsborough Circuit Court in 2006, becoming at that time the youngest judge in Florida.

“It showed that I had the experience, the judicial temperament, and the ability to hear all sides before making a final decision, and that’s what I try to bring to the bench with that approach to problems,” she said.

Moody said that it was the urge to want to do more which compelled her to run for attorney general. She says the skills required for the attorney general position are the skills that she has honed over her career as an attorney, prosecutor and judge.

“Of all the things that the attorney general’s office handles, I have experience,” she said. “It would be impossible for someone to come in that has not had the experience in any of these areas and start the job effectively on day one,” she declared. “Impossible. It would take so long to get up to speed in these particular areas to make any sort of lasting impact.”

Jacksonville state Rep. Jay Fant is the only other Republican in the race to date. Tampa attorney Ryan Torrens is the lone Democrat. Moody is crushing both in fundraising, with more than $720,000 in combined campaign contributions from her own account and her PAC (Fant has more than $200,000 in his PAC and his campaign account; Torrens is just shy of $29,000 raised).

Moody joked about how she became less popular once she quit the bench as a powerful judge to become a political candidate, and a Republican one at that. She said that she was “not inclined” to get into partisan politics, since it has become very polarized, and almost decided not to enter because of those concerns. Her husband Justin (a federal agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration) convinced her that it was important for someone who hasn’t done politics to run for such an important position with her qualifications.

She then took a few questions from the audience and seemed unprepared for the first one: a question about where she stood on the drive for a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore the voting rights of former felons who have served their time.

Florida is one of just four states that denies the right to vote to all former felons until they petition for rights restoration. A lawsuit filed earlier this year said that more than 10,000 are waiting for a hearing on their restoration applications.

But Moody said the system seems to be working just fine.

“I would like to study it more before I give it a definitive answer, but I think there are historical reasons that we haven’t let felons vote, and I think that there are reasons for that,” she said. “Now we have a process that they can obtain their rights after they’ve been convicted, and certainly I would invite that if they are eligible … so there’s a process for restoring rights and I think that the process that we have is fine.”

Pam Bondi asks court to end lawsuit over charities

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is asking a court to put an end to a lawsuit claiming she forces businesses to donate millions of dollars to unregistered charities as part of settlements in consumer protection cases.

Bondi’s motion for summary judgment in part says “there is no statutory requirement that … settlements under (Florida law) be made to a charity, much less to a registered charity.” Summary judgments allow parties to win a case without a trial.

Another motion asks Circuit Judge Charles Dodson to suspend “discovery” in the case — the gathering of information from Bondi’s office in preparation for a possible trial.

Orlando entrepreneur John D. Smith had been investigated on a consumer fraud allegation by Bondi’s office in 2015 for his Storm Stoppers plastic panels, marketed as a “plywood alternative” to protect windows during storms.

He sued, saying some of the unregistered charities Bondi makes settling parties give money to is her own “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” award and various “scholarship funds designated by the Attorney General.”

Scott Siverson, Smith’s attorney, said in a previous hearing that one of Bondi’s defenses is that donations to groups that weren’t registered as charities were OK because they were “unsolicited,” or not asked for.

“There is only one way for is to find out about that, and that’s to get discovery from” their office, Siverson told Dodson.

Since she first assumed office in 2011, Bondi’s office settled enforcement actions with 14 businesses in which they wound up paying more than $5.5 million to 35 unregistered charities, Smith’s suit says.

Smith also said Bondi was improperly directing contributions to her office’s nonprofit, Seniors vs. Crime, which is a “conflict of interest,” the suit says. Two of its directors work for Bondi.

Not so, Bondi’s office said. “(T)he two agency employees do not serve on the Board of Directors for Seniors vs. Crime, Inc., thus rendering this claim moot,” according to the motion.

Smith, in an email to Florida Politics, said state corporation records show that both Statewide Prosecutor Nicholas Cox and Victoria Butler, director of Bondi’s Tampa office, “have been listed on the Seniors vs. Crime Board of Directors since 2015.”

In a separate filing, Siverson asked Dodson to take “judicial notice” of the corporate filings, reserved for—among other things—”facts that are not subject to dispute because they are capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned.”

Bondi has called the legal action “meritless” and “harassment.” A hearing on her motions is set for Aug. 28.

Gas Pumps

Pam Bondi activates price gouging hotline ahead of Tropical Storm Emily

Attorney General Pam Bondi activated the state’s price gouging hotline, after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 31 counties in preparation for Tropical Storm Emily.

State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities — like food, water, hotels, gasoline and equipment — that is needed as a direct result of an officially declared emergency.

People who suspect price gouging during the declared state of emergency should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.

Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations committed in a single 24-hour period.

Scott declared a state of emergency, which gives the state flexibility to work with local governments to ensure they have the resources they need, on Monday morning. The declaration came as Tropical Storm Emily made landfall at Anna Maria Island, just west of Bradenton, around 11:10 a.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge due to high winds, and a flood watch is in effect for much of the Tampa area. The storm is expected to cross the state in the coming hours.

The emergency declaration covers all of the counties in the central and southern regions of the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permission.

Rick Scott targets Venezuela investments

A state agency overseen by the governor and two cabinet members would be prohibited from doing business with any outfit tied to the Maduro regime in Venezuela, under a proposal released Thursday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott’s anti-investing outline for the Florida State Board of Administration, which doesn’t currently have any such investments, coincides with international efforts aimed at putting pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to cancel a controversial election planned for Sunday. Maduro is pushing ahead with the election, which critics fear will weaken the country’s democracy and strengthen Maduro’s position in a country embroiled in protests that have left more than 100 dead over the past few months.

“I look forward to working with the SBA on this important proposal and I will work with the Florida Legislature during the next legislative session to take more action against Maduro and his gang of thugs,” Scott said in a press release issued Thursday.

The measure doesn’t appear to go as far as one initially floated by the governor earlier this month, when Scott said he was “proposing that the State of Florida be prohibited from doing business with any organization that supports this dictatorship.”

Scott’s proposal is slated to go before the trustees of the State Board of Administration – comprised of Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis – on Aug. 16.

Patronis, appointed by Scott last month, quickly voiced support for Scott’s plan while announcing that the Florida Treasury does not conduct any business with Venezuelan companies tied to the Maduro administration.

“The Maduro regime is known for inflicting gross human rights abuses against the people of Venezuela, and under no circumstances should Florida’s investment funds be tied to such tyranny,” Patronis said in a release.

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami Democrat, said Scott is sending a much-needed message to Wall Street.

“I think the idea is to use the power of the state of Florida,” Rodriguez, who is running for Congress, said. “The question is, is this going to be enough?”

Rodriguez is crafting legislation for the 2018 session that would expand Scott’s proposed prohibition on investments to encompass all state agencies and would require divestment of existing investments.

Under Scott’s proposal, the State Board of Administration would be prohibited from investing in securities issued by the Venezuelan government, companies that are majority-owned by the government, or businesses that trade in or with the government.

The order would also prohibit the State Board of Administration from participating in any proxy vote or resolution that advocates or supports the Maduro regime.

Florida law already bans the SBA from engaging in similar conduct with Cuba and Syria.

The proposed order won’t require any agency action, according to John Kuczwanski, manager of external affairs for the State Board of Administration.

“As a result of prudent investing and disciplined policies and procedures, the SBA does not maintain any investments related to or owned by the Venezuela government,” Kuczwanski said in an email.

The agency doesn’t have figures on state investments in companies that may have advanced money or that continue to trade with the Venezuelan government, he said.

Scott hasn’t named or targeted any individual company, but Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which has taken heat for its purchase of $2.8 billion in bonds of Venezuela’s state-run oil company through a broker in the secondary market, has met with the Florida governor and others to discuss his proposal.

As of early this month, Goldman Sachs, an investment manager of part of what is known as Florida’s “long duration portfolio,” had an allocation from the state of $478 million, according to the state chief financial officer’s office.

On Wednesday, the U.S. imposed sanctions on 13 high-ranking government and military officials in Venezuela, along with managers of the state oil company known as PDVSA.

Republish with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Ryan Torrens, political outsider running for Attorney General, says he’s what Florida Democrats need

Consumer protection attorney Ryan Torrens is quite aware that he’s not an established political presence, but he says that should be an argument for his fledgling candidacy to become Florida’s next Attorney General.

“Look, I get it,” the 32-year-old told an audience who gathered Friday morning at Tampa’s Oxford Exchange to hear the Hillsborough County resident speak as part of the Cafe Con Tampa lecture series.

“I’m young. First-time candidate. A lot of people look at me and think, ‘Can he really win this thing? He’s never run for office before. He’s been practicing for five years? Come on.””

The answers are hard to dispute.

“In the Democratic Party in Florida, what we’ve been doing the last 20 years isn’t working.”

Torrens says he’s offering something different. Energy, passion, new ideas and the fact that he is decidedly not a politician, which he has surmised during his brief time as a statewide candidate is something that voters are hungry for.

A fifth generation Tampa native with Cuban roots, Torrens became the first (and still only) Democrat to file for Attorney General two months ago. Former Hillsborough County judge Ashley Moody and Jacksonville state Representative Jay Fant have filed to run in the GOP primary.

Under previous AG’s like Charlie Crist and Bob Butterworth, the position as Florida’s top cop was about being a consumer advocate for the people, something that Torrens says has been missing under Pam Bondi’s direction.

“A lot of people think it’s like the state attorney prosecuting murders and things like that,” he says of the AG’s job description.”That’s really not what the Attorney General does. If I’m Attorney General, I’m supposed to fight for all the people of Florida, and not simply take big contribution checks from companies and give them a pass.”

Working on the opioid epidemic he says will be a top priority in his administration, and if elected, he says he’ll sue the pharmaceutical companies for their role in perpetuating the crisis.

“They need to be held liable,” he says, “and we could use those proceeds from a settlement or a verdict to help get treatment from those who are currently suffering.”

That’s not such a radical idea, as attorneys general in Ohio and Mississippi have already done so.

Torrens recently outed himself as being a recovering alcoholic, and said that experience allows him to identify with  Floridians working through their own addictions.

Referring to the controversy over the recent “school of hope” education bill, he talked about the state constitution, which says that the state must adequately fund public schools.

“I would like to see if the AG could possibly file a lawsuit against the Legislature, for not adequately funding the public schools, and fulfilling its constitutional obligation,” he said.

Torrens also says he’ll go after predatory student lenders and abusive debt collectors. But he insists that he’s not some “left-wing radical” who wants to pick on Wall Street.

“When I talk all over the state with Democrats and Republicans they want the same thing, which is, they need to follow the same rules.”

A political science major at the University of Tampa, Torrens sounds like an analyst when he told the crowd he understands that it’s been the Democratic party’s arrogance that led to the election of Donald Trump last November.

“They feel that the Democrats are not speaking to them. That we make promises that we’re going to fight for working class people, but we’re a bunch of hypocrites because we get into office and we don’t really fight for them,” he said, adding that “we have a  tendency sometimes to talk down to working class people and they feel like we’re trying to dictate to them how they need to live their lives.”

Torrens will certainly be an underdog to the Republican nominee if makes it that far next year when it comes to fundraising. He announced that he had raised a little more than $22,000 after two months on the campaign trail recently.

Fant raised over $79,000, and Moody more than $600,000 between her own campaign and her political committee.

Steve Webb: Run, John Morgan, run — no, not for that

Dear John Morgan:

All kinds of Florida Democrats are enthused that you will follow your successful campaign to expand legal medical marijuana with a 2018 campaign for governor.

You could self-finance, and the party sorely needs to concentrate its fundraising down ballot. You have name recognition, but it doesn’t carry the baggage of a government record. You aren’t timid, and at this point, we hunger for boldness to oppose a mess in Tallahassee, you could argue has been the template for the mess in Washington.

But stop, for a minute, and turn the question that justifies your running on its head. How are you any more qualified than Rick Scott or Donald Trump to run a government? In 2018, this question is important because Scott wasn’t qualified and still isn’t. Ditto Trump.

We lose the “amateur hour” argument if you are the candidate. It will be similar to waging the argument four years ago that the best way to turn the corner on four terms of Republican governors was to elect the third-term guy to a fifth.

However, Florida has a constitutional office you are highly qualified for, and frankly, the office begs even more for a change in direction. Florida has a bad governor, but it has an even worse attorney general. Pam Bondi should not be able to name her successor.

How did Bondi become the state’s chief lawyer? Not from a legal record. She functioned largely as a telegenic spokeswoman for the Hillsborough state attorney’s office, then parlayed a gig as one of Roger Ailes‘ blonde expert witnesses into her election campaign. She won, frankly, because losing is what we Democrats were doing in 2010.

Once in office, Bondi turned the Office of the Attorney General into a small-town law firm for mostly out-of-state interests. Clients who had put up a retainer when she was a candidate found her a less-than-energetic protector of consumers, investors or residents impacted by mistreatment of our natural resources. One client in particular — the Republican Attorney Generals Association — found her to be a much more enthusiastic co-plaintiff than a prosecutor. She led Florida into federal suits that on the surface stood outside or even in conflict with the state’s interests. The most famous involved the Affordable Care Act, and a 2012 image lingers of her and Scott confusedly having to abandon their victory lap news conference when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA.

But you and I both know that wasn’t Bondi’s most ridiculous co-plaintiff move. That would be one of the times when she signed the state of Florida on to stop other states from adopting standards Florida has itself adopted, sometimes introduced. I would love to see an accounting of how much taxpayer money she wasted pursuing various suits at the behest of the RAGA, how much she spent on outside attorneys to accomplish tasks she ignored while servicing her out-of-state clients, and how often the suits have ended poorly — losses, but also an increased acrimony among the states involved and a belief among large segments of Florida that Bondi is anyone’s lawyer but ours.

In addition, a state’s best government oversight is a strong attorney general, and Bondi has never challenged her party’s excesses. An attorney general who took the state and federal Constitutions seriously would have blocked the legislature from defying the Fair District amendments in the 2011 redistricting. The resulting litigation has ended up costing taxpayers more than $20 million. In 2015, Scott used taxpayer money to fly to and purchase radio advertising in Kentucky on the eve of their gubernatorial election, where he warned voters Democrat policies would allow Florida to steal all their jobs. The best you can say about her own ethical decisions is that she broke no criminal laws.

An attorney general who represented the people against the government would tell both Scott and the legislature that they were on their own passing HB 7059 the way they did. Such an AG might even act as plaintiff’s attorney if the government and legislature refused to fulfill voter-approved constitutional amendments.

I know it would be difficult to take what, on the surface, is a supporting role in changing Florida. It wouldn’t have to be. You would be a crusader, dragging Florida’s official legal presentation back into the sunshine.

In contrast, you might make a lousy governor. Your success has come doing a specific set of things, and they might not translate into a position that is administrative, collaborative. Baseball writer Bill James once said of a 70s Red Sox center fielder, that his doubles against Fenway’s wall became routine fly outs in Anaheim.

That might happen to you in the governor’s office.

But do you doubt for a minute that you would thrive as The People’s Lawyer? Please, think about it.


Steve Webb is a Lakeland resident and member of the Polk County Democratic Executive committee.


Pam Bondi ordered to respond to lawsuit over unregistered charities

Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday was ordered to file a written response to a lawsuit claiming she forces businesses to donate millions of dollars to unregistered charities as part of settlements in consumer protection cases.

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, sitting in Tallahassee, also granted a request from Orlando entrepreneur John D. Smith to seek “discovery” in the case — that is, to get information from Bondi’s office in preparation for a possible trial.

Smith filed a petition for a “writ of quo warranto,” which demand government officials to prove their authority to perform a certain action. He did not attend Monday’s hearing.

Russell Kent, Bondi’s special counsel for litigation, objected to discovery, saying it was “generally not allowed” in quo warranto cases. He also said he intends to ask the court for summary judgment in the case, allowing Bondi to win without a trial.

But Scott Siverson, Smith’s attorney, said one of Bondi’s defenses is that donations to groups that weren’t registered as charities were OK because they were “unsolicited,” or not asked for.

“There is only one way for is to find out about that, and that’s to get discovery from” their office, Siverson told Dodson.

“I don’t know of anything that would prevent you at this time” from asking for records, Dodson replied. The judge also said a previous order he issued was “a little misleading” about whether Bondi needed to file an answer to Smith’s complaint.

“I don’t mind taking the fall for messing up on that,” Dodson said.

Smith had been investigated on a consumer fraud allegation by Bondi’s office in 2015. He invented Storm Stoppers plastic panels as a “plywood alternative” to protect windows during storms.

He says some of the unregistered charities Bondi makes settling parties give money to is her own “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” award and various “scholarship funds designated by the Attorney General.”

Smith also said Bondi was improperly directing contributions to her office’s nonprofit, Seniors vs. Crime, which is a “conflict of interest,” the suit says. Two of its directors work for Bondi.

Since she first assumed office in 2011, Bondi’s office settled enforcement actions with 14 businesses in which they wound up paying more than $5.5 million to 35 unregistered charities, Smith’s suit says.

In a previous statement, Bondi called the legal action “meritless” and “harassment.” Siverson said his client just wants Bondi to play by the rules.

“This is a citizen’s lawsuit to make the Attorney General comply with the law,” he said after Monday’s hearing. “That, I think, is remarkable.”

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