TAMPA - The previously undisclosed Arkansas vacation home that got State Senator Jim Norman in so much hot water is now officially disclosed.
Norman has amended his financial disclosures for the last three years.
Faced with multiple state ethics complaints, which could possibly result in both referrals for criminal prosecution and impeachment from the Senate, Norman said he has amended his financial disclosure "in an abundance of caution."
We asked Norman about the absence of the vacation home on his financial disclosures in July.
Those questions led to the revelation that $500,000 to buy it came from the late Tampa businessman Ralph Hughes , who often appeared before Norman and the County Commission.
Now, in Norman's amended disclosures, both the house and Hughes' money are accounted for.
An appeals court restored Norman to the ballot , but didn't question the judge's finding of fact. Since the election, at least three Hillsborough County residents claim they've filed ethics complaints against Norman.
While the amended disclosures covering the last three years include the house and money from Hughes, Norman writes, "This is in no way an admission that this is my asset."
"This is really smart lawyering in an attempt to proactively try to mitigate the potential damages as a result of these financial disclosure forms," said attorney L.T. Lafferty.
Lafferty is a former prosecutor and member of the State Commission on Ethics. He told us the amended disclosures are an effort to get the commission to stop short of the most serious options at its disposal.
“For all intents and purposes, based on Judge Fulford's opinion and her factual findings, it does suggest a potential crime occurred and an impeachable offense so I wouldn't be surprised to find a referral to the State's Attorney's office and the Florida Legislature," he said.
The FBI launched a criminal investigation into the matter after our story aired in July. A federal grand jury is now hearing testimony .
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