LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Letters are going out from the U.S. Justice Department, inviting donors to Tammy Hall's last political campaign, to make statements in court at her sentencing. The government is doing that under the crime victims law.
Hall, a former Lee county commissioner, pleaded guilty to fraud, in using campaign cash for personal expenses.
The letters inform donors of the sentencing details, and invite a statement in open court before the judge pronounces sentence. That will occur the morning of January 13, 2014, in Ft. Myers. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa would not say how many letters will be sent. However, the records show that several hundred individuals and businesses, donated to Hall's re-election effort in 2009 and '10. She won the election in 2010 to a second term as a Lee commissioner.
"I feel such sadness about what Tammy did, it is a mark on Lee County that we do not need," says Marion Briggs, owner of a realty company who gave 500 dollars to the Hall campaign in 2010. Briggs received a letter from the federal government this week. "I think the whole thing is just a shame. But I will still participate in the political process, because one bad apple is not going to change my caring for this community. I was born and raised in Ft. Myers. We have had scandals before, and it always takes a whole to get over them."
Pam Cronin of North Ft, Myers has not yet gotten a letter, but she does expect to, because she gave several hundred dollars to the Hall campaign several years ago.
"My statement would be, she did a lot for this community, and she should get a lenient sentence. What she did was wrong and she has admitted what she did. She stepped up to the plate. I will stand beside her because she has been my friend for many years," says Cronin.
Hall admitted to using more than 33-thousand dollars in donations for personal bills. She resigned as a commissioner, shortly after the charge against her was made public.