Senate President Mike Haridopolos Got $152K in Taxpayer Money to Write Crappy, Misspelled Book

Senate President and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos lists his profession as college professor (though he's actually merely a lecturer) but apparently does a hell of a lot less toiling on his written works than one would expect of his students. He certainly makes a lot more money for it, though. The AP reports Haridopolos received $152,000 in taxpayer money from Brevard Community College to write a 175-page book. Apparently only one copy of it exists.

Haridopolos taught history at the college before he was elected to the Florida legislature in 2000. When he was elected to the state Senate in 2003, officials at the school decided having an active senator on staff would be beneficial to the college. Yet instead of keeping Haridopolos in the classroom, they agreed to pay him $38,166.36 a year for four years to write a book originally titled Florida Legislative History and Processes.

Florida Today, a newspaper that covers Brevard County, began asking about the deal in 2005, and then school president Thomas Gamble sent emails to Haridopolos asking about the progress of the book. Haridopolos begin sending monthly progress reports that basically listed what he was reading at the time, including, vaguely, "newspaper and magazine articles."

He was also reading biographies about Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton, and pop political works by Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews. Many of the readings had little or nothing to do with the history and processes of the Florida Legislature.

Gamble allowed Haridopolos to change the theme of the book to current politics, but Haridopolos barely was able to pull even that off.

The book is apparently so shoddy and basic that you can imagine the AP reporter holding his nose in disdain as he describes it:

The manuscript Haridopolos submitted in 2007 is basic politics and government, aimed toward an audience that wouldn't have any idea of how government or campaigns work, to the point where he explains that the Legislature is made up of two branches, the House and Senate. Most of it should be basic knowledge for lawmakers or candidates -- little research is apparent.

"At a minimum a candidate must know his own position on all the important issues. On the campaign trail, he will be asked about his positions by members of the public, by the media, and possibly by interest groups," is one typical piece of advice.

Haridopolos draws little from his experience as a lawmaker, but when he does mention the infamous Terri Schiavo case, he spells the woman's name wrong.

The book was never actually published, and only a single copy exists at the school's library. But Brevard Community College has plans to put the book online. Still, Haridopolos walked away with $152,000.

He now presides over Florida as Senate president and has all but officially announced his plans to challenge Bill Nelson for his U.S. Senate seat in 2012.

We would say this could become a campaign issue, but a somewhat similar scandal involving Marco Rubio didn't impede his election. After steering millions in funding to FIU as state speaker, Rubio was offered a $69,000 part-time, nonadvertised job by the school.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder