Irreverent View exclusive: Ethics complaint filed against Jim Norman

Tampa attorney and local Republican Paul Phillips has filed a wide-ranging ethics complaint against eighteen-year incumbent Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman who is currently seeking a seat in the Florida Senate. Norman is term limited from seeking the county commission job again. He faces State Representative Kevin Ambler in the G.O.P. Primary on Tuesday.

Complainant alleges money for lake house came from Ralph Hughes 

By Chris Ingram 

Tampa attorney and local Republican Paul Phillips has filed a wide-ranging ethics complaint against eighteen-year incumbent Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman who is currently seeking a seat in the Florida Senate. Norman is term limited from seeking the county commission job again. He faces State Representative Kevin Ambler in the G.O.P. Primary on Tuesday.  

Phillips’ complaint which was sent to the State Ethics Commission yesterday alleges Norman has failed to accurately reveal financial information on state-mandated candidate financial disclosure forms. It claims Norman has withheld information about assets he owns including two boats moored at an Arkansas lake house that were part of the purchase of said house by Norman’s wife.  Norman claims the lake house purchase was legit and was made by his wife independently from him and that he was only put on the boat registrations for “liability” reasons. However, the Normans have refused to disclose where the money came from other than to say from “investors.”  Arkansas law conveniently does not require disclosure of such “investors.” 

Tastes great or less filling? It doesn't matter to Jim Norman.

According to Phillips’ complaint, Mrs. Norman has no obvious known source of income which would allow for the purchase of a $435,000 lake front home. Phillips’ complaint claims deceased Hillsborough County political puppeteer Ralph Hughes fronted the money and that it constitutes either an unreported loan or unreported income. The Normans have refused to release their income tax returns to clear the answer to that question. 

Phillips’ lengthy ethics complaint, (Click here to view: Norman Ethics Complaint (2)) notes that the home was sold to the Normans by Ed Roleson, Jr. a now deceased former Miller Beer Co. distributor. The real estate transaction was conducted around the same time the Tampa Sports Authority (which Norman served on) approved a patio deck in the south end-zone of Raymond James Stadium for Miller Beer. 

Phillips alleges Norman’s solely listing his wife on the title to the house was “done deliberately to conceal an obvious conflict of interest for Mr. Norman and illegal gift to him and/or his spouse.” 

When asked why he filed the complaint, Phillips told Irreverent View, “I’m sick of it all –the state [Republican] party leaders endorsing people for reasons other than qualifications. Voters getting zero representation. The bottom lines is, we all know there were a bunch of guys on the Hillsborough Commission put up by Ralph Hughes. And I see it happening again with [Josh] Burgin,” Phillips said referring to the county commission candidate who has been accused of being a pawn of businessman Sam Rashid. 

He added, “I’m appalled at all the backroom deals. I’m just sick of it.” 

Who knows how this whole thing will shake out, but Phillips is to be commended for filing his complaint and bringing further scrutiny to this subject. Norman is entitled to tell his story but has so far chosen not to say much. 

One thing is clear, in politics, the story can usually be told by following the money. 

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at:

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11 thoughts on “Irreverent View exclusive: Ethics complaint filed against Jim Norman”

  1. I think the Salvation Army should also sue Norman for lost contributions, after his $90K-plus salary was reported. The Salvation Army also has lost my financial support, more important my bell ringing support this coming Christmas (and it is okay to say Christmas!)


  2. I just knew the lakehouse money was land development industry money.

    Everybody, keep digging, we’ll be done with Norman’s grave soon enough.


  3. Mr. Norman must be a total moron to think that he could get away with such a shady deal as this. Putting it in his wife’s name is so unsophisticated that it shows he’s not even a good crook! The timing is also astounding given that the Miller Beer deal was approved and then Bang, a Miller Distributor “sells” them the home. Perhaps he should name the two undisclosed boats “Dumb” and “Dumber”.


  4. Thanks, Mr. Phillips, for your bold move and thanks Chris Ingram, for being a journalist with enough courage to not allow this crooked public servant to pull the wool over his constituents’ eyes for one more minute.

    Y’know… I’d almost be willing to give Norman credit for shrewdness if this wasn’t so freaking transparent! Of course the house money was from Hughes. Of course the Miller deal was arranged. Of course Norman lobbies for the Salvation Army. If any of these were not true, Norman would have simply offered plausible explanations that wouldn’t have caused him such political damage. He’s just not that bright. And he got caught.

    Which is why special interests in Tallahassee are pumping money into sleazy attacks against Norman’s opponent. They’re drooling over the prospect of having this dolt’s every vote in their pocket for a few bucks.

    And who loses if Norman wins the State Senate race? Us… the constituents he’s supposed to represent.

    Why even waste a vote on Norman? He’s just going to get indicted then impeached when the truth comes out.


  5. I along with many free thinking and intelligent members of the Republican Party have just about had it with Jim Norman, Sandy Murman, the Burgin family, and Dana Young (the latest sleezeball who is throwing trash at her Republican opponents using unlimited lobbyists’ money) and the power brokers who control the money and select these idiots because they are assured of their vote whenever needed. Time for the GOP to clean-up it’s act Mr. Thrasher & Mrs. Cox-Roush or you will be the leaders of the final days of the Republican Party and shame on you for what you are allowing to happen!


  6. This has long been Mr. Norman’s pattern of behavior. this is nothing new. Two citizens filed complaints with IRS and FDLE a number of weeks ago – citing much of what Mr. Phillips did in his complaint. I know this because I was one of them.

    As long as I’ve been active in the community Norman has been this way. He may have started off as a nice guy but greed and arrogance has a way of overriding one’s common sense and certainly creates a huge ego. He treats people with disdain unless it’s a large voting block or folks who never challenge him. He’s a phony and now others can finally see that he’s another corrupt politician.

    He has also cost all of us lots of money while feathering his own bend and claiming to be a fiscal conservative. All in the name of the “chilren” and bringing $$ to the area. What a joke!

    I hope everyone sends him a loud and clear message on Tuesday!!!
    Norman has been around long enough. He needs to leave the scene completely! Enough is Enough.


  7. I say…he’s still goin’ down. Whether it’s before he sits his butt down in Tallahassee…or after. The man is goin’ down.


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