tampabay.com

Ex-wife can't get Crosby's pension

The state says the former official forfeited control of the funds when he took more than $130,000 in kickbacks.

By TIMES STAFF WRITER
Published July 23, 2006


State retirement officials say former Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby Jr. is not entitled to give any of his retirement benefits to his former wife.

The state will challenge Crosby's attempt to transfer the assets if necessary, spokeswoman Colleen Englert said late Friday.

State officials have notified Crosby that he must return more than $200,000 in retirement benefits and forfeit the $5,499 a month pension benefit he has been receiving since March because he has been convicted of a felony relating to his job.

Crosby has admitted taking more than $130,000 in kickbacks from a prison vendor in a deal with federal prosecutors who have been investigating corruption in the state prison system. More than 20 other current and former officers have been charged with crimes ranging from steroid trafficking to grand theft.

Earlier this month, Crosby and his wife, Leslie, dissolved their 17-year marriage in a Marion County courtroom and obtained a court order awarding Mrs. Crosby half of all of his pension benefits.

Steve Andrews, the Tallahassee lawyer who represents Crosby in the criminal case, says Mrs. Crosby is an innocent spouse entitled to the pension benefits.

Englert says Crosby has lost the right to the benefits because of his own actions and cannot transfer them.