A Republican House candidate says he had been stripped of his leadership position by then-speaker Rubio and the other party bigwigs in the Florida House when a vote to build a lavish courthouse dubbed the “Taj Mahal” was taken, and says he’s being unfairly tied to the project. The Loranne Ausley campaign gleefully sent out a story in the Lakeland Ledger in which Dennis Ross, running in the 12th District against Democrat Lori Edwards and Tea Party candidate Randy Wilkinson blames the lavish courthouse on Ausley’s opponent, Jeff Atwater, and tea party U.S. Senate candidate Rubio:
Ross said he was not involved in the decision to build the “Taj Mahal” because that was in 2007, a year in which he opposed a property insurance plan supported by Republican leaders.
For his opposition, he was was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Insurance Committee and his post on the leadership council.
“I didn’t know anything more about it than any other of the 119 rank-and-file members in the House, because I had already been removed when it (the courthouse) came up,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was on a ‘heroes list’ until all this came out.
“It may be because my name was still on the council roster after I had been stripped of all my memberships and they just assumed I voted for it. Nobody has asked me about it, they just printed that I was on a heroes list.
“I don’t know anything about that. That was Marco Rubio and (Jeff) Atwater.”
Senate President Jeff Atwater told The Ledger in an interview last week he had nothing to do with the courthouse because he was not president of the Senate then.