Commissioners erupt over PAC

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM.

With a bit of prodding from a citizen, county commissioners spent the last portion of last week’s meeting in vocal outrage about the Political Action Committee Citizens Improving Gulf County.

Commissioner Carmen McLemore provided a hint of what was to become when he insisted that county attorney Jeremy Novak state for the record that he did not have a conflict of interest pertaining to future decisions concerning BP litigation given that McLemore had once worked for BP in the aftermath of the spill.

Novak said it was up to McLemore to file the appropriate forms and to clarify any potential ongoing conflict from McLemore’s employment. As noted later in the meeting by Bill Koran, McLemore earned roughly $250,000 after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to his annual financial filings, McLemore’s net worth spiked from under $90,000 to nearly $300,000 while working for BP.

But the fireworks were lit when Port St. Joe resident Christine McElroy, who is working with Economic Development Council on strategic planning, came to the podium to speak.

McElroy said she was concerned about an effort that seemed less about politics than “destroying lives and hurting people in the community.”

She said she had cooperated with a State Attorney investigation into what Commissioner Bill Williams called a “blackmail” attempt by the PAC against Commissioner Warren Yeager and launched into a discussion about the link between the PAC and campaign contributions from some members for a candidate in District 3.

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