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Target of 10 News Investigators in hot water again | News

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Target of 10 News Investigators in hot water again
News

Tampa, Florida -- There is another major embarrassment for the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission, the agency that regulates taxi cabs, limousines and tow trucks.

The executive director who has been the target of several 10 News Investigations has been moonlighting while making a six-figure salary from the agency.

Cesar Padilla is in hot water but that seems to be SOP at the Hillsborough Transportation Commission, an agency which some say is so embarrassing it needs to be legislated out of existence. In fact, there is another push in the legislature to dissolve the agency

In spite of the fact the executive director has been taking sick time to work a second job, the County is negotiating with Padilla to give him a three-year contract worth more than $350,000.

But the question is, how much longer will Cesar Padilla be the director of Hillsborough County's Public Transportation Commission?

The Investigators have reported on Padilla for years. He's taken online college courses at work while public dollars paid for his six-figure salary. Padilla needed the college degree to keep the job as director. And he's also faced criticism for moonlighting.

County Commissioner Victor Crist chairs the PTC board and says, "Right now it's kind of uncertain what the role and responsibility is."

However despite Padilla's problems, Crist says the board is ready to give him a three-year contract. Which Padilla requested the board give to him.

We asked Crist, "Doesn't that also tie you in for three years?" 

Crist replied, "Not necessarily. If the board finds a cause he could be dismissed with cause and receive no benefit of any kind."

But it may never get that far. That's because Crist is insisting Padilla undergo a background and financial check -- and according to Crist, Padilla has said he won't do it.

We asked, "If Padilla refuses to allow a background check and a financial check, can he continue as an at-will employee?"

Crist told us, "I would have a level of discomfort."

Crist was also uncomfortable this year when he learned Padilla filled out his own evaluation with glowing marks and asked Crist to sign it. Padilla is out of the country and unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile the PTC, whose former director was fired after we uncovered he gave himself too big a raise and where former Commissioner Kevin White took bribes, has hired just a $7,000 lobbyist with public money through a no-bid contract to try to convince the legislature not to abolish the agency.

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