Days after FDLE released a memo stating that the federal investigation of Jackie Pons and the Leon School Board was closed, the Tampa Bay Times (TBT) reports that gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham refused to answer questions related to the “notebook” which put the four-year investigation into motion.
Writing about her resigning her job at the Leon School Board, TBT journalist Lawrence Mower wrote:
[her] departure in 2013 after six years at the district raised eyebrows. By the time she left, she had been promoted to Chief of Labor and Employee Relations and earned praise from Pons.
But her exit came just months before a scandal fomented by Hanna would envelop the school district.
Hanna, with some help from Hildebrandt and others, wrote a notebook filled with allegations against Pons claiming he had steered construction contracts to campaign donors. It was circulated anonymously to the media and FBI in late 2013, casting a shadow over the district for the next few years.
The investigation, which generated approximately 50 stories in the Tallahassee Democrat leading up to the election for the Leon Superintendent of Schools, in the words of Mower, was “politically toxic to Pons, whom Hanna would defeat in the 2016 election.”
Adding to the intrigue is that not only was Pons cleared, the US Attorney involved with the case took the extraordinary move of allowing FDLE to publicly state the FBI investigation was over.
Pons attorney Stephen Dobson, who has more than 20 years of experience in criminal practice, including significant cases in health care fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, public corruption, and a variety of white collar crimes, told TR that this is “the first time in my career that the US Attorney has stated that a case is closed.”
Referencing the investigation and the “notebook”, TBT’s Mower noted “Graham’s alliance with Hanna was well-known in the district — the two campaigned for each other for their successful 2014 and 2016 races for Congress and superintendent, respectively — and some have wondered if Hanna had told Graham about it.”
But when the reporter approached Graham about the notebook, Mower states that “Graham’s campaign declined to allow her to be interviewed for this story after being told that the Times/Herald intended to ask her about the investigation of the notebook..”
Graham’s lack of transparency raises many questions.
Was Graham aware of the notebook while working at the Leon School Board?
Did she participate in putting the notebook together?
Did she discuss the notebook with Mr. Hanna?
And, finally, does Graham know who else was involved with the “notebook”?
Gwen Graham is anything but “great”. She is unethical, immoral and will do anything to succeed in politics.
She is such a coward. She won’t even use her real name.
To the people in article that were quoted how great Gwen is…how great is Gwen when she REFUSES to asked questions about Rocky Hanna’s notebook that have proven to filled with false claims by the former president of the Florida bar? Someone is hiding something. When a person refuses to be asked a question…much like Rocky Hanna issuing his manifesto to Tallahassee Democrat refusing to take questions from TD (TD printed his manifesto without fact checking, anything he said) ….well that sums it up. Hide from truth, but the truth comes out.
Gwen Graham was working for the School District when Mr. Hannah had claims if sexual harassment brought against him and Graham was instrumental in covering up those charges. She endorsed him knowing that about him. Hardly an ethical role model To be running for governor.
She was one of Hanna’s key supporters and contributors!
Best case scenario for this situation is that the Hanna/Graham connection spews up enough dirt on Gwen to take her out of the state race. There is a Tampa Bay reporter trying to do just that. That would help insure a Republican in the Governor’s Mansion.
Locally I know a lot of us are hopeful someone in the school board will get spanked and things will get better for the kids, employees, and the school system in general. But given the majority leftist local voters and their 100% historic preference for electing idiots…well thinking things will get better locally is kind of far fetched at best. But dream on if it makes you feel good!!!
It would be nice if some Federal indictments get dropped by the 1). foot dragging 2). slow walking 3). slow talking 4). low energy 5). “Weasel” Jim Comey’s boys on our local “usual suspects” soon. Within enough time to embarrass the local majority leftist local voters so they will stay home on election day.
Wow….are u in middle school…You morons are just like all ur brothers in 28% of the trump land…WOW, bet the FBI finds nothing with the City either…..
Gee – a “notebook” filled with “allegations” that was “circulated anonymously to the media and FBI”. Substitute the word “notebook” with “dossier” and the whole thing sounds very familiar. I guess this is a standard operating procedure to derail an opposing candidate for office? Is Rocky (or Gwen) close friends with Hillary or do they just gab on the phone from time to time about techniques and methods?
The non-profit arm of the Tampa Bay Times is called Poynter.
Heres a link to their boards:
When daddy is on the foundation board, you don’t have to answer questions you don’t like.
Rocky Hanna and those who worked with him on the notebook never in a million years could conceive that the FBI would ever close a case , this case in particular. Rocky and his associates never anticipated that not only would the FBI close the case but the notes and details of meetings that took place will more than likely be released to the public. When the details that are in the possession of the FBI and Department of Law Enforcement are released the citizens of Leon County will have a true understanding of the steps that were taken by Mr. Hanna to try and ruin the life and livelihood of other people in our community. I urge every citizen to read the findings of the report by the former president of the Florida bar, Hank Coxe that he presented to the Leon County School Board.
There is a reason that Gwen Graham did not want any questions posed to her about the notebook. I wonder if Ms Graham would speak to the issue of endorsing someone who did not pay child support for 10 years.
This is great reporting,. TR.
And the answer is yes, she not only knew but she contributed to it. Just my humble opinion.
Hope we can get answers. Sounds like Mr. Pons staff were out to get him. It is interesting that Mr. Hanna kept all Mr. Pons top staff and promoted all of them to Asst. Supt. without interviewing any of them. School Board do your job! This needs your attention. I predict that we will not hear a word from you. Prove me wrong.