Public Trust in Expressway Authority Could Erode After Indictment, Says Expert
April 25, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - The Orlando-Orange County Expressway authority took another hit with the grand jury indictment of one of its board members yesterday.
The vice chairman of the expressway authority board, Richard Scott Batterson, faces one count of bribery and two counts of soliciting unlawful compensation as a public official.
UCF Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett says the indictment comes at a time when the expressway authority is already facing intense public scrutiny.
“It is another black eye for the transportation authority that has seen a lot of black eyes over the last few years,” says Jewett.
Jewett believes the ongoing investigation into the authority’s board members will add steam to the movement to create a regional expressway authority with more oversight.
He also says the indictments should serve as an example to Gov. Rick Scott’s office against appointing officials who could have conflicts of interest.
“Perhaps it’ll be a lesson learned for the governor and the appointments office on future appointments that they really need to take seriously the potential for conflicts of interest and that when people have really, really obvious conflicts of interest, they just shouldn’t be appointed in the first place.”
State Attorney Jeff Ashton is also investigating allegations that Batterson and other board members violated state Sunshine Laws before the ouster of the expressway authority’s former director.