Sarasota Herald Tribune | Carlos R. Munoz | September 28, 2020
SARASOTA – State Attorney Ed Brodsky has asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to appoint another state attorney to investigate criminal allegations against his campaign treasurer, Eric Robinson, who is “under investigation for a potential election criminal misconduct,” according to an executive order DeSantis signed last week.
Robinson told the Herald-Tribune he has not seen the allegations.
“Every complaint lodged against me has been dismissed,” Robinson said. “It’s been shown to be a character assassination. Every one has been shown to be politically motivated. I have had so many complaints against me – not that I’ve negotiated or paid a fine; every single one has been dismissed.”
The allegations of wrongdoing did not go through normal law enforcement channels but were made to the 12th Circuit State Attorney’s Office by a private individual.
Because Brodsky, a Republican, employs Robinson in his reelection campaign, he recused himself from the matter to avoid a conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety, according to the executive order.
Brodsky said his office received a “citizen’s complaint that had not been formerly investigated by any law enforcement agency or any state agency. There’s been no finding of a violation of law. There’s been no finding of criminal wrongdoing.”
He said Eric Robinson is not an employee of the State Attorney’s Office, and is a certified public Accountant and owns an accounting agency.
“He (Robinson) serves multiple, probably dozens of elected officials, locally and throughout the state providing accounting services. He provides accounting services for me. Because I utilize his accounting agency for accounting services, I felt when we received the citizen’s complaint, even though there has been no formal determination or wrongdoing or criminal violation, because I utilize his accounting agency to provide accounting services for my campaign, I wanted to make sure there was no appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest. I asked the governor’s office to appoint it to another office.”
Brodsky’s opponent, Democrat Betsy Young, said in a press release she was concerned about Robinson’s participation in the election.
“If Ed (Brodsky) wants us to believe that he isn’t breaking the law himself, he should immediately remove Robinson as campaign treasurer, make public all documents related to his employment with the State Attorney’s Office, and disclose exactly what crimes Eric Robinson is being investigated for,” Young said in the emailed statement.
Executive Order 20-227, effective immediately, reassigned the case to Andrew H. Warren, state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County.
In the executive order, DeSantis asked Warren to notify him on or before Aug. 22, 2021, if additional time was needed.
Photo: Herald Tribune archive / 2016