Our network

GOP goes after Democrats after ignoring Republican who did the same | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

GOP goes after Democrats after ignoring Republican who did the same

Clearwater, Florida -- State Senator Jack Latvala, of Clearwater, says several members of the legislature don't meet the constitutional requirement to serve because they don't live in their district.

However when the 10 News Investigators uncovered similar allegations about a Tallahassee insider, no one wanted to do anything.

There is no doubt politics come into play because all the legislators targeted so far happen to be Democrats and the lawmaker we discovered living outside his district is a Republican who was part of the leadership.

However, Senator Latvala has a valid point because the state constitution says you must live in the district you represent and be a permanent resident or you are not qualified to serve.

Latvala says he's fed up with lawmakers living outside the district they represent.

"Why have a constitution when we're not going to follow it?"

Latvala says there is evidence State Senator Maria Sachs and representatives Perry Thurston, Jared Moskowitz, Hazelle Rodgers and Alan Williams, all Democrats, don't live in their districts.

"I just think it is time for somebody to do something about it," he says.

And while the Democrats defend their residency saying they're registered to vote in the district they represent, Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley says that doesn't mean a thing.

"Election officials have no investigative authority so we have no way  of determining if, in fact, that is a valid residence for purposes of that being an elected official," Corley says.

Both the President of the Florida Senate Don Gaetz and the Speaker of the Florida House Will Weatherford say they are outraged by the allegations that the Democratic legislators are not living in their districts and have even sent a joint letter about what they will do to remedy the situation. 

However, the Republican leadership wouldn't do a thing a year and half ago when we uncovered the fact Republican favorite John Legg wasn't living in the district he represented at the time.

We told Legg, "The law says you've got to be a permanent resident to represent the district." 

Legg replied, "Correct, absolutely!" 

However when we said, "You're not a permanent resident." 

Legg told us, "That's completely inaccurate."

When we confronted Legg, who is now a state senator, back in January of 2012 we explained our undercover investigation found him at his wife's house of out of the district. We found records showing he tried to rent his home in the district and found records showing there was no water use at the home where Legg said he was a permanent resident.

Legg indigently said, "First of all, to say there is no use of water I'd have to look at that number to see that."

So we showed Legg the number and he still continued to insist he was permanent resident even though he admitted he wasn't permanently in the house.

But when we questioned Latvala about Legg he told us, "I can't go back two years and say we should have done this then. What we have to deal with what we're doing now."

Both Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford say in the letter to Latvala they have a four-point plan to insure that lawmakers live in their district including investigating any complaints filed. However, that plan was not in effect and didn't happen when John Legg was a representative.

Legg told us he has been living in his Senate District since elected and no questions have been raised. 

You might be interested to learn that Legg now admits he is living in the home his wife owned which is in his Senate district but wasn't in his House district.


Pinellas County Deals

Pinellas County Businesses