Fla. Gov. Rick Scott questioned about Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority

3 board members indicted by grand jury

Local 6 News at Noon
Local 6 News at Noon

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited Winter Park on Thursday to talk job creation, but the focus turned to the embattled Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

Expressway authority members, including former state Rep. Chris Doworth and Rebekah Hammond, were indicted Wednesday by a grand jury, along with Scott Batterson, who had been indicted on bribery charges in April, on allegations of breaking Florida Sunshine State Laws, which require meetings to be open to the public.

The trio could face 60 days in jail or six months probation, along with a maximum fine of $500.

The indictments came the same day expressway board member Marco Pena, who was appointed to the board by Scott, pleaded guilty to violating Florida's open meetings law. As part of the plea agreement, Pena is avoiding jail time and probation, paying a $500 fine and will not try to seal his court file.

Pena's testimony to the grand jury helped lead to the indictment of the other three.

"Do you regret making an appointment like Marco Pena after his guilty plea?" the governor was asked.

"My goal is, whoever I appoint, they live up to the highest standards," Scott said.  "And I'm appreciative of state attorneys holding public officials accountable and I'm very appreciative of what (state attorney) Jeff Ashton did."

Scott said he plans to pass a bill that would create a new leadership team for the expressway authority.