Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
State agency rejects 2004 elections complaint
State Rep. Paige Kreegel says attack ads used late in the campaign were malicious and false.
By LUCY MORGAN, Times Senior Correspondent
Published September 5, 2007
The Florida Elections Commission will not pursue formal charges against attack ad king Randy Nielsen and the Florida Home Builders Association, according to reports released Tuesday.
State Rep. Paige V. Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, filed complaints with the state agency responsible for policing election laws 18 months ago. He accused Nielsen and others of making malicious false statements in last-minute campaign ads mailed to voters in his southwest Florida district in 2004.
The Elections Commission unanimously voted to dismiss the charges after investigators and staff attorneys found no violation of the law occurred.
The campaign ads highlighted medical malpractice lawsuits filed against Kreegel, as well as a paternity suit and a criminal mischief charge. The ads were distributed by Floridians for Integrity in Government, a committee created just days before the election. Money for the ads came from People for Integrity in Government, a committee funded by the home builders, sugar companies and others.
In a report to the commission, elections general counsel Charles A. Finkel determined that a $250,000 transfer of money from the home builders to PIG and FIG did not violate the law because the ads did not expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate.
Finkel also determined that there was no evidence of "actual malice" in the derogatory statements made against Kreegel. The accusations against Kreegel were an exercise of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Finkel noted.
The decision does not end a 2-year-old libel lawsuit Kreegel filed against Nielsen, former home builders lobbyist Richard Gentry and lawyer John French, but the issues in the lawsuit are similar to those in the elections commission case.
The lawsuit hinges to a great degree on how a judge views an accusation that Kreegel was "arrested" on a criminal mischief charge. He was never taken into custody, but he was charged in an "information" filed by prosecutors. The charge was dismissed. Kreegel said it stemmed from a parking lot confrontation with a mental patient who had been stalking him.
French, responding for the home builders, said Kreegel has wasted the time of the elections commission and the courts "in retaliating for a perceived slight to his reputation."
"It may be the first time in history that someone's gotten upset over anything that understated the true severity of what that person really did - an arrest as opposed to an information filed against him by a state attorney."
Nielsen said the decision "proves that it's wrong for politicians like Paige Kreegel to try and use their power to persecute citizens and stifle free speech simply because they don't like being criticized."
A spokesman for Kreegel said he was unaware of the commission's decision. Kreegel did not return a telephone call.