Questions raised about payment to Florida Senate candidate

Reporters are questioning why Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) was paid $152,000 in taxpayer funds for a book on politics that won't be published.

While Haridopolos, who's vying to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), was teaching at Brevard Community College four years ago he entered an agreement to write a "textbook-quality look at the development of the Florida Legislature, state constitution, the governor's office and judiciary from pre-statehood until present," according to the Associated Press.

The book now exists as only a 175-page, double-spaced manuscript and the school no longer has plans to publish it as a traditional hardcover.

Jim Drake, the current college president, called the book "a fine contribution to the college."

But the AP notes the book:

gives virtually no specific details of Haridopolos' own experiences either as a candidate or a legislator. When he does mention real-life issues the Legislature faced, he mentions it in passing without describing the major points in the legislative or legal debates.

For example, he does that in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Tampa woman whose familial battle between 1998 and 2005 over whether she should be allowed to die became national news and involved the Florida and federal governments. He also misspelled her name.

Former Brevard Community College professor Amy Locklear, who collaborated with Haridopolos on another book, called the deal "unusual."

"At a community college, in my opinion, yes, it's unusual, I've never seen one like it," said Locklear, who was a department chair at the time the deal was struck.

She added, "Not everyone has a senator on the faculty."

The report comes shortly after the state Senate Rules Committee called out Haridopolos for failing to properly disclose his assets and income on state ethics forms.

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