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Speaker Answers

March 9, 2002

The Honorable Tom Feeney
Florida House of Representatives
420 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300 

Dear Mr. Speaker: 

As requested, I have once again reviewed the e-mails from Bridgette Gregory's computer.  I believe I have identified those relied upon by Mr. Date for his conclusions.  After a thorough review of those documents, I continue to believe that they do not indicate any improper activity on Ms. Gregory's part.

The e-mails in question are essentially as follows: 

1)  a series of e-mails from Eric Eikenberg to Ms. Gregory concerning a proposal for a firm to assist you as campaign treasurer.  As demonstrated in the e-mails, Ms. Gregory did not respond to them.  In fact, the e-mails also demonstrate that attempts to contact Ms. Gregory by phone on this matter were also of no avail.  If she did respond, it clearly was not done on the state's computer system.  Absent evidence that Ms. Gregory requested that the e-mails be sent to her legislative computer, there was clearly no wrongdoing on her part with regard to this matter.  In fact, the evidence that she continually did not respond to the e-mails suggests strongly that she did not request them.

2)  an e-mail was inadvertently forwarded to Ms. Gregory at her legislative e-mail address by Cheryl Moore regarding an inquiry on contributions to your campaign.  Ms. Gregory forwarded that e-mail to her hotmail account, so that she could respond outside of regular work hours on the proper computer.  Ms. Gregory forwarded a copy of her eventual response to the state computer, which although it may have been poor judgment to do so, demonstrates that the response was made from her own computer at 7:15 a.m. on a Saturday.

3)  an e-mail from Fred Karlinsky which was an invitation to Ms. Gregory to attend a fund raiser sponsored by Mr. Karlinsky and others.  Ms. Gregory did not respond from her state computer.

4)  a series of e-mails between Ms. Gregory and Ms. Conklin regarding your schedule.  While a review of your calendar indicates that the trips discussed were at least in part campaign-related, we have always advised that it is proper for the information related to an officer's political schedule, or for that matter his personal or private business schedule, to be integrated into their legislative schedule in order that conflicts can be avoided and so that the officer's whereabouts are known in the event of an emergency.  

While each of the e-mails above related to campaign activities, with the exception of the scheduling e-mails, Ms. Gregory was the recipient, not the generator of the e-mails.  She clearly is not in a position to prohibit persons from sending materials to her at her public e-mail address.  This is really no different than telephone calls made or letters sent to public officials at their place of public business that are campaign-related.  In those instances, we have trained our employees to direct the calls or letters to the campaign.  This policy is explicitly provided in Policy 1.12 of the Policies and Procedures of the Florida House of Representatives. 

 I also note that the article written by Mr. Date suggests that there was an unusual provision of health insurance for Ms. Gregory.  All legislative employees are provided free family medical insurance.  If the employee works a portion of the month, the premium is paid by the legislature.  If Ms. Gregory's unpaid leave of absence had included an entire calendar month, she would have been required to pay the premium for that month.  She has been treated exactly the same as all legislative employees in this respect.

I hope that this letter provides you the information, which you requested. 

Tom Tedcastle
House General Counsel