Former UCF Student Government Association President and Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority board member Marco Pena is still under investigation following the indictment of fellow board member Scott Batterson.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton has been investigating the Expressway Authority for months over possible violations of the Sunshine Law. Batterson’s indictment extends beyond that, after being charged on bribery and two charges of unlawful compensation.
Ashton did not specify exactly what Batterson did, being that the investigation is still ongoing.
However, Batterson, Pena and Florida Department of Transportation District Secretary Noranne Downs voted to oust former Expressway Authority Executive Director Max Crumit, who left in September 2013.
Ashton is investigating to see if Batterson, Pena and Downs conspired privately. Authority business can only be talked about in public meetings.
Batterson and Pena were asked to appear before the grand jury to answer questions, but both declined to do so via counsel, Ashton said. Downs voluntarily met to answer questions, along with fellow board members chairman Walter Ketcham and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
“These are second-degree felonies punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in the Department of Corrections or, I believe, it’s a $15,000 fine or such a sentence as the court should determine,” State Attorney Jeff Ashton said after the indictment.
Batterson turned himself in and bailed out of Seminole County Jail after the indictment.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended Batterson from the Expressway Authority following his indictment.
“Today, my office took immediate action to suspend Scott Batterson from the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. All public officials must be held to the highest ethical standards — and we support State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s efforts to hold public officials accountable,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.
Ashton expects the grand jury to meet again soon, and there could be more indictments.