Marco Pena to plead guilty to misdemeanor in Expressway Authority investigation; Update: More indictments!
Today State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s office issued a press release saying that Marco Pena, who recently resigned his spot on the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority after one of its other members, Scott Batterson, was indicted on bribery charges, has cooperated with the State Attorney’s investigation of the troubled agency. The Expressway Authority came under fire (again) in late 2013 when Ashton’s office agreed to look into allegations of bribery, secret meetings and attempts to steer contracts to preferred vendors. Pena provided testimony for the State Attorney on allegations that the Expressway Authority had violated Sunshine laws by holding secret meetings and he may be called to testify again before a grand jury.
For his role in the authority’s recent controversies, Pena will plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge related to Sunshine law violations and pay a fine of $500.
Edit to add!: Today, more indictments were handed down in the Expressway boondoggle, including one for tub-of-fun Chris Dorworth! From the Orlando Sentinel:
A grand jury investigating the expressway authority issued indictments today against former board member Scott Batterson; former state Rep. Chris Dorworth; and Dorworth’s girlfriend Rebekah Hammond, a government-affairs liaison who works for FDOT, on violations of the state’s public records law.
Batterson was also indicted by the grand jury on April 24 on three felonies, including bribery and soliciting compensation for official behavior. On those charges, he is accused of offering a $5 million a year authority contract to a consultant in exchange for hiring some of his friends. He is free on $3,000 bail.
The grand jury had met this morning and into the afternoon, with former board member Marco Pena testifying at least part of the morning.