TAMPA, Fla. -- Like a tired old soap opera that never ends, the drama continues involving former Hillsborough Administrator Pat Bean and former County Attorney Renee Lee on charges that they violated state ethics laws.
Most of the time, when the State ethics commission finds there is probable cause that someone violated the ethics laws, they sign a consent form admitting their guilt, they receive a slap on the wrist, and get a nominal fine. Since Bean and Lee refuse to sign the form, it means there will have to be a full-blown hearing.
Now the pair will have to defend in open court why, as the 10 News Investigators first reported, they gave themselves a one percent raise without getting approval from their bosses, the Hillsborough commissioners.
Lee could probably be quizzed on why she lied about her contact with former Commissioner Kevin White, who the county was suing. You may recall at one point Lee texted White that "we have to get our stories straight on what we are going to tell Deeson." (One of my all-time favorite texts.)
The commission wanted to have the hearings together, but both Lee and Bean wanted separate proceedings.
The assumption is Bean is fighting the charges because she is worried about losing her severance and she is suing to get more.
Lee, apparently, is concerned about disciplinary action from the Bar. The hearing for Lee is April 3rd and 4th and for Bean it's April 12th and 13th. It will be a high-tech hearing with the judge in Tallahassee and Bean and Lee in Tampa.