3/23/2016 – A Times Editorial
It’s not exactly the arms-for-hostages scandal, but the alleged self-dealing at the Florida State Fair is an embarrassment to the state and a sorry picture of what happens when a public agency operates largely behind the curtain. State prosecutors need to conduct a serious and thorough investigation, and the entire operation needs a good spring cleaning.
As the Tampa Bay Times’ Tony Marrero and Sue Carlton reported Wednesday, the state fair’s executive director, Chuck Pesano, resigned last month, one day after a state investigation found that he used his position to funnel business to his family’s company. Investigators found that the fair’s history museum, Cracker Country, bought candles from Pesano’s family business. He also received a hot tub from a spa manufacturer — a vendor and one of the fair’s major sponsors — along with tickets, beverages and food for sporting events from the fair’s exclusive catering vendor.