Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said investigators convinced him to hold off on firing corrupt state prison boss James Crosby for more than a month while an “ironclad” case could be built against Crosby, reports the Florida Times-Union. Bush got the green light in February and fired the 31-year Department of Corrections secretary the next day. Crosby, 53, and protege Allen Clark, 40, last week admitted to taking $135,000 in kickbacks from a prison subcontractor. Crosby is scheduled to plead guilty today in federal court. He faces up to 10 years in prison and will likely forfeit his state pension.
Bush talked to Crosby last fall, when reports about a steroids ring, a no-show job for a softball player, and a drunken banquet brawl hovered over the department. Bush told Crosby that if he’d done anything wrong, he would accept Crosby’s resignation. Crosby decided to stay on, although court records show he’d already taken 10 months of kickbacks for helping American Institutional Services get a subcontract selling snacks to weekend prison visitors. “I was let down by someone whom I respected,” Bush said.