Charlie Crist campaign manager out after arrest on fraud charges
The ex-mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., who became the first black to win a state’s highest elected office and was elected only weeks before the death of his brother, Scott, has been arrested and charged with a felony after he failed to pay parking tickets from a local restaurant and then spent hours driving the streets of Tampa looking for a car that would enable him to get away free of arrest. The ex-mayor, who served as mayor for three terms before he lost an election to the current mayor, had spent three days after the charges were filed on Thursday sitting next to his wife’s bed as she slept; when he awoke, he appeared dazed and confused, and refused to leave until he was taken from the hospital to jail.
The ex-mayor, who had been released from the hospital, entered a Tallahassee City Jail and was brought before the judge Thursday by his arraignment attorney, said City Attorney Stephen Pohl. The ex-mayor, who had been released from jail on bail set by a judge who was recusing himself from the case, was not informed of the judge’s recusal until a few hours before, Pohl said.
At one point, when the charges against him had not been resolved before he was led away in handcuffs, the ex-mayor’s wife, Crystal, came out of an examining room and asked him if he was satisfied with the hospital treatment her husband had received.
“Are you kidding me?” Crist laughed and slapped his wife on the back. “You’ve been out of my sight for hours and hours? There’s not a thing wrong with my health. This is bullshit. This is all bullshit. I don’t know what’s going on.”
The prosecutor, Scott Ellington, said at a news conference on Thursday that the ex-mayor had been arrested after he was discovered to have failed to pay parking fines from the restaurant he had attended nearly weekly for years.
“For him to even have the opportunity to eat dinner in Florida … it shows you that he wasn’t paying attention to the people, to the voters, to the voters that he had a duty to serve,” Ellington said. “A simple mistake in judgment.