Former Commissioner Mary McCarty Embarrassed to Tell Inmates Why She's in Jail

After spending more than a year and a half in the slammer, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty probably misses those nights at luxury cottages in Key West that caused her to trade her power suits for a jumpsuit.

A Palm Beach Post interview with McCarty at the women's federal prison in Texas reveals that the once-powerful politician is now hooked on wine and anxiety pills, has to wake up at the crack of dawn to clean her cell, and is too embarrassed to tell her fellow inmates why she is in jail.

McCarty claims to be racked with guilt for betraying public trust, telling the Post, "Public trust is a sacred thing, and I violated that trust. And it's

something I'm ashamed of." The ex-commissioner is keeping mum about her life in the outside: "I don't really want to tell people why I'm here. I'm not proud of why I'm here."

Perhaps if the other inmates found out that she used her political influence to snag underwriting contracts for her husband and accept inappropriate gifts of lavish hotel visits from a developer, they'd be as annoyed as we were. Since McCarty won't get out of the big house until March at the earliest, not telling her new pals at prison about her privileged past is probably a smart move.

It's easy to understand why McCarty felt entitled to betray the public trust. Who could blame corrupt politicians for liking Florida about as much as the bedbugs do? Events like last week's fundraiser for accused former County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin's defense fund prove there's no lack of support for politicians charged with corruption. Business elite are literally emptying their pockets to come to the aid of Wasserman-Rubin, who's been charged with seven accounts of unlawful compensation, the penalty for which is up to 75 years in jail.

Wasserman-Rubin could end up an exercise buddy of McCarty, who seems to make the most of her time in prison, telling the Post she's lost about 40 pounds walking five miles a day.

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Lizzy Hill
Contact: Lizzy Hill