The SGA Election Commission found Student Body President-Elect Nick Larkins not in violation of bribery charges, after a hearing that lasted less than five minutes—where Larkins’ accuser did not appear.
As Knight News previously reported, Larkins was accused of violating Title 6 Chapter 600.D of SGA Statutes. It states bribery is constituted by: “ A prize, reward, gift or favor bestowed or promised with a with to influence the action of another to vote, not vote, or vote for or against a particular candidate/ticket and/or any other item on the ballot, in any way. Any item distributed by the Election Commission shall not constitute bribery.”
Since Knight News’ original report, Knight News can confirm that Larkins’ accuser was SGA Facilities, Safety, & Transportation Coordinator Bobby Sells. Knight News was able to confirm this, even though UCF has refused to produce non-redacted documents pertaining to these allegations.
Knight News spoke with Sells and asked him why he did not attend the violation hearing that he prompted.
“I tried to withdraw it, but the old election statues are still in place and not the new ones, [so] I was unable to do so. But the reason I wanted to withdraw it is because I think Nick won fair and square and he deserves a chance.”
Knight News questioned Sells’ motives on why he abruptly chose to change his mind on these allegations just days after filing his report.
“The violation was filed before the election actually took place. I was hoping we could get the hearing done before that, but then after Nick won the election I decided that I wanted to withdraw it,” he said.
Knight News pressed Sells further, asking if his “Election Violation Report” was accurate, and what he claimed transpired was true.
He stood by his accusations.
So, Knight News asked again: Why wouldn’t he attend the violation hearing?
“So, I just really didn’t appreciate him threatening me and saying he would destroy me and ruin my future in SGA, if I were to run,” Sells said. “Then he offered me a position right after that, which I also didn’t appreciate because I think that’s bribery and corruption. So I went and supported the other candidate.”
“I think that even though the bribery and giving people positions in order for their votes; I feel as if the amount of people that were swayed because of that wouldn’t have been enough if he were to not do that and he still would have won either way,” Sells continued.
After Sells’ comments, Knight News asked Sells if he believes bribery is a serious offense.
“Yes,” Sells replied.
Knight News continued to question Sells further, asking if Larkins really promised him a position.
“For sure, yes,” Sells said.
From there, Sells was asked how he came to the conclusion to not attend the violation hearing if he believes a violation had occurred.
“I think he won and I do not think SGA should be embroiled in yet another scandal,” Sells said. “So I think that we should give him a chance. And because the election violations were filed, and I have a list of people that were allegedly promised positions, if any of them apply, we can bring it up and say look that person was promised a position.”
Directly after the violation hearing, Knight News spoke with Larkins and his running mate, Cristina Barreto. Larkins and Barreto were pleased to hear these allegations of bribery were finally settled.
“There wasn’t any evidence, because it didn’t happen,” Larkins said.
When the pair was asked why they believed Sells did not appear at the hearing Barreto replied, “Something that we were told was that if you have any violations, even if you think it might be considered one, to file it before the election closes. So I think, it was kind of a last minute, pulling at straws—just anything, just in case. So that’s why I think he did it, it was just a last minute try.”
You can watch the full video from the hearing here.