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Leaked emails show JD Alexander's wife influencing Poly | News

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Leaked emails show JD Alexander's wife influencing Poly

LAKELAND, Fla. - State Sen. JD Alexander isn't the only one in his family lobbying for the new Florida Polytechnic University; his wife, Cindy, is speaking to ousted USF Poly administrators about staffing at the new school.

Emails obtained by 10 News through a public records request show Cindy Alexander has been swapping notes with former USF Regional Vice Chancellor Alice Murray and former USF Director of Development Maggie Mariucci. Murray was forced to resign following an investigation into financial mismanagement, while Mariucci resigned over the treatment of "longtime staffers."

On June 18, Cindy Alexander asked Alice Murray if she could "give me talking points for individual calls. Who are the opinion leaders? Who are they and what do we need to say?"

Murray responded:

In my opinion, I would recommend keeping it simple:

a. identify the group (Poly Vision), no authority but is working now to create excitement for the new institution and will be working with new leadership in a support fashion, etc.

b. understand that things have been very difficult for this person over the past few months (lots of unknowns, wavering support, etc.); we're very sorry that new leadership is taking this long to materialize and for all that the individual has been through during this gap period but these appointments are now imminent

c. want this person to know how valuable he/she is and that we are sure that Poly will want them to be a part of the new institution

d. please hang in there; may need to accept assignment from USF for a short time until a system is in place to bring them on; hopefully not very long

Maggie, what do you think?

The email was made a public record when Murray inadvertently copied Mariucci's old USF email address instead of her personal account.

The correspondence with ousted administrators could raise the concern that the new booster group Alexander is a part of, Florida Poly Vision, would support former USF employees who were -- or still are -- under investigation.

That includes dismissed Regional Chancellor Marshall Goodman, who spent $10,000 of school money on life-sized Star Wars statues and proposed $500,000 be spent on a promotional video.

The "Facts" page of Poly Vision's new website includes Goodman's 2011 business plan, even though the new university will, for all intents and purposes, have to start a business plan from scratch.

Neither Murray nor Alexander would comment on the emails, but a public relations representative speaking on behalf of Cindy Alexander and Poly Vision said she "has never said or told anyone she could or would influence jobs or place people in positions."

"Yes, some staff have contacted Poly Vision members," said Sarah Bascom with Bascom Communications. "(W)e are proud to be a supportive ear for anyone interested in being a part of Polytechnic University and will gladly gather any names and resumes and pass on to the appropriate people when they are in place. What they chose to do with those names will be out of our hands, but we will absolutely be supportive of all aspects of Florida Polytechnic University's future success."

Both the Florida Board of Governors and Governor Rick Scott are currently vetting Board of Trustees candidates and could announce their picks in the next few weeks. The trustees would then be tasked with finding a president, then continuing down the fast road toward hopefully opening the state's 12th university by Fall 2013.

Previous Polytechnic Coverage:
6/22/12 Construction continues after problems worked out
6/18/12JD Alexander's employee pulls out of trustee search after investigation
6/11/12Trustee hopefuls have questionable ties & lies
5/31/12 - Florida Poly gets booster club; JD Alexander gets gritty
5/23/12Board of Governors, USF negotiate Poly split
4/19/12 - Governor signs SB1994, creates Fla. Poly University
3/5/12 -
USF deal struck, exclusive interview with Genshaft
2/28/12 -
Genshaft told Poly accreditation will take 2-4 years
- Alexander actions have some asking why BOG exists
2/22/12 - JD Alexander: from USF cheerleader to USF critic
- College student warned of Alexander revenge
2/16/12 -
Gov. Scott tells 10 News he's no fan of Poly bill
2/15/12 -
Budget cuts live, but ''divorce settlement'' brokered
2/14/12 -
10 News leading charge to #SaveUSF
2/14/12 - USF fears "devastating" 58% budget cuts
2/8/12 - JD Alexander pushes "backdoor" for Poly independence
12/20/11 - Genshaft dismisses USF-Poly chancellor
11/10/11 - BOG grants USF-Poly eventual independence
11/7/11 -
USF-Poly spends thousands on Star Wars statues
11/3/11 - JD Alexander's bully pulpit

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.


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