New allegations link Jim Norman to money from businessman

6:26 PM, Oct 1, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Hillsborough Commissioner Jim Norman ran TV spots for his state Senate campaign saying he has been nationally recognized for cutting government waste. Now, Jim Norman is being recognized for something else.

The president of construction company Cast-Crete is quoted in the St. Petersburg Times saying that he was asked by the son of the late Ralph Hughes, who was the former president of the company, to help get back $500,000. The son says Hughes apparently gave that money to Norman, who is being accused of using that money to buy a home in Arkansas in his wife's name. That would be a campaign violation.

If the allegations about the Arkansas home are true, Norman could be denied the Senate seat he is expected to win.

But taking a state Senate seat in Tallahassee could be the least of Norman's concerns. If the allegations turn out to be true, a FBI investigation into Norman and Hughes' relationship could lead to criminal charges.

Earlier this year, when county commissioners were in the process of firing former Administrator Pat Bean, Norman said investigators have not come to him and said there are fraudulent things that have occurred. It turns out he could have been saying that about himself and the current situation.

Meantime, State Representative Kevin Ambler, who Norman defeated in the primary, will be able to see any documents Norman has, because Ambler is suing to keep him off the ballot. Both Norman and his wife are being deposed.

Norman did not return our calls to comment on the story.

A judge is supposed to decide on October 12 whether Norman can be on the November ballot.

Mike Deeson, 10 News

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