Jay Odom, Florida GOP Donor, Indicted on Federal Campaign Finance Charges
Republican donor Jay Odom, a Panhandle developer who was a key person in the downfall of former House Speaker Ray Sansom, because Odom wanted a new plane hangar, has been indicted on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws.
The federal indictment alleges that Odom, 56, laundered more than $10,000 in personal funds in 2007 to reimburse individual contributions to a presidential candidate (who, as of now, is identified only as "Candidate A.")
Hint: It might be Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, since Odom contributed money to them in 2007.
Another charge accuses Odom of making false statements that caused a fraudulent 2008 campaign report to be filed with federal officials.
The FBI and the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice have been investigating Odom, which led to the current indictment.
Odom has a long history of waving his junk around for political influence in Tallahassee. He (and several of his corporations) have been contributing to legislative campaigns and the Republican Party of Florida for years.
He's also been generous with his private jet, often lending it to public officials and candidates to get around.
From 1998 to 2008, Odom contributed more than $1.3 million to various candidates, mostly GOPer candidates.
Odom and former House Speaker Sansom ran into a bit of trouble when they were accused of corruption. Odom wanted himself a new airplane hangar, so Sansom put $6 million into the state budget to build it, according to prosecutors. At the time, Odom said the money was actually for a new hurricane-proof emergency operations center for the city of Destin.
The charges were ultimately dropped, but the incident led Sansom to resign as speaker in 2009.
Odom surrendered to U.S. marshals in Pensacola on Tuesday. He was released pending a trial, scheduled for March 4 before U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.