Tampa Bay Times by Graham Brink
August 29, 2019
Some things aren’t illegal. They might not be technically unethical, either. But they certainly look bad. They don’t pass the smell test, leaving even the Pollyannas among us with arched brows.
The cases often involve politicians who should know better. They carry out their plans despite the whiff of impropriety, hiding behind just enough legal and ethical cover to let them sleep at night.
Many of the controversies boil down to a lack of transparency. Politicians keep their constituents in the dark about a sensitive issue, hoping no one notices what’s happening behind the scenes.
The well-worn playbook is unfolding once again, this time in Belleair, a tony enclave in central Pinellas County. A big hat-tip to my Tampa Bay Times colleague Susan Taylor Martin who broke the story a few days ago.
The powerful Doyle family owns a private Belleair golf course and came before the town commission in July seeking approval for the latest phase of their club enhancement. Town commissioner Thomas Kurey voted in favor.
The next day, the patriarch of the Doyle family paid Kurey $1.65 million in cash for his house that borders the golf course. The house was never listed for sale, and the price was the highest ever paid in that immediate area.
Kurey did not think the deal was worth mentioning at the town commission meeting. Nor did the town’s attorney, who knew about the pending home sale.