|Commission Finds Probable Cause Against Corrections Official|
|By Associated Press|
Ethics violations that could lead to criminal charges have been found against the executive director of the Florida Correctional Privatization Commission, an agency made up of gubernatorial appointees.
In a report released recently, the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause on seven violations of state ethics laws against CPC director Mark Hodges.
The ethics commission said it appears Hodges used his position for personal gain, earning $150,000 since 1995 from prison consulting contracts with public entities in other states, Canada, Panama and Alachua County. He said CPC Chairman Joel Freedman of Sarasota approved the outside work.
While doing this work, Hodges received assistance from other CPC employees and paid Freedman $500 to help him draft a proposal on an Alachua Coounty consulting contract, the report said.
The commission's investigation also showed Hodges used state phones and fax machines while doing his consulting.
Hodges, who earns $96,000 annually, said recently he made mistakes and has quit all outside consulting work. He has held his position since 1993 when the department was created within the Department of Management Services.
'We could have done better and, in fact, we are doing things better,' Hodges said. 'I've acknowledged phone calls were made and I'll pay for those.'
Liz Hirst, the governor's spokeswoman, said no decision has been made about Hodges' future.
'We had some concerns and want to review (the report) further before deciding on any course of action,' she said.
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