Jack Latvala resigns from Florida Senate amid Public Corruption probe
In the face of a public corruption investigation and possible vote for his removal from the Florida Senate, Jack Latvala, 66, resigned Wednesday. The resignation comes just one day after a retired judge stated that he likely violated Florida state corruption laws.
Latvala was found to have traded legislative favors for physical contact. He was also found to have sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women.
Long-time Tampa Bay leader and republican candidate for governor, Latvala tendered a letter of resignation to Senate President Joe Negron in a sudden end to a political career that stretched over four decades.
“I have never intentionally dishonored my family, my constituents or the Florida Senate,” Latvala wrote in the letter.
In reference to the #MeToo movement, Latvala went on to say: “My political adversaries have latched onto this effort to rid our country of sexual harassment to try to rid the Florida Senate of me.”
Retired Judge Ronald Swanson issued a 33-page report, which is said to have documented “explicit” text messages from Latvala over the past three years, showing that he agreed to support a lobbyist’s agenda if she in return would have sex with him or let him touch her inappropriately.
The woman, was not identified and reportedly left a career in lobbying to avoid Latvala.
The testimony of the unnamed may have led to Swanson report saying that Latvala may have violated additional public corruption and ethics laws.
Prior to his resignation, the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida Department of Law Enforcement were determining how to proceed with an investigation of Latvala’s conduct, which the retired judge said may be a crime.
Within an hour after the Senate distributed a second report from an independent investigator regarding anonymous claims of sexual harassment from multiple women against Latvala, the veteran republican politician resigned.
Tampa lawyer Gail Golman Holtzman, produced testimony from several women stating the veteran lawmaker repeatedly shamed them, groped them and attempted intimate physical contact in exchange for his attention to their legislative requests.
Latvala’s is the third resignation within the 40-member Senate in the past year. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican, resigned in April after other senators complained about him using racial insults. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat, resigned in late October after acknowledging an affair with a lobbyist.