NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2010
McCollum Misleads Florida about Hiring of Anti-Gay Activist, Expert Witness, and Male Escort Employer George Rekers
As soon as the story broke that Bill McCollum’s expert witness for Florida’s gay adoption trial was photographed traveling with a male escort from RentBoy.com, McCollum began distancing himself from Reverend George Rekers with a series of misleading statements in an effort to spread the blame.
But revealing letters from 2007 surfacing today between McCollum and then Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Bob Butterworth show that while DCF initially declined to engage Rekers’ services and expressed concern with his outrageous fees, McCollum personally and aggressively pushed Rekers as a witness.
In one letter, McCollum even wrote, “I believe that this expert and his testimony are necessary to ensure a successful result in this case.” McCollum also rejected DCF’s plan to spend taxpayer money on only one expert witness. Amazingly, Rekers was paid over $120,000 by McCollum’s Department of Legal Affairs in two separate payments in 2007 and 2009, even though DCF only agreed to pay $60,900.
“This story keeps unraveling, and Bill McCollum is the one standing in the middle of it,” said Eric Jotkoff, spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, about McCollum’s hiring of the discredited anti-gay witness. “When news first broke about Rekers’ hiring of a male escort, McCollum blamed DCF for hiring him, and mislead Floridians about his personal plea for Rekers to be hired. But these letters clearly show that Rekers was Bill McCollum’s handpicked witness, and he urged that taxpayer dollars be spent on Rekers over the initial protest of the DCF Secretary.”
To sort out the facts from the fiction, we have compared McCollum’s current statements with his 2007 words below:
BLAME GAME: Miami Herald Reported That McCollum “Steered The Blame Toward The Department Of Children And Families. McCollum “defended his agency’s handling of the case, and steered the blame toward the Department of Children and Families, which he said hired him. ‘I think our team’s done what it should do,’ he said. ‘We’ve been defending the Constitution of the state and we’ve been representing the Department of Children and Families, who hired him and paid him and needed expert witnesses and he was available and credentialed.'” [Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times, 5/10/10]
BLAME GAME: McCollum Implied DCF To Blame In Statement to Press. The Orlando Sentinel reported that McCollum’s office stated: “The contract was executed at the direction of the Department of Children and Families” without any mention of the 2007 disagreement. [Orlando Sentinel, 5/7/10]
BLAME GAME: In 2008 McCollum’s Office Blamed DCF For Finding Rekers Which “Infuriated A DCF Official”. “Rekers was so embarrassing, even back in 2008, that McCollum’s office blamed DCF for finding him. That infuriated a DCF official, who said the Attorney General’s Office found him, which McCollum now confirms,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. [Orlando Sentinel, 5/9/10]
Link to copy of 2007 letters: http://findout.typepad.com/files/rekers-letters.pdf
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