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The most onerous abuses of power we can remember from a particularly abusive year



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Come out with what?

Just as this year's Come Out With Pride parade was about to make its Lake Eola rounds in October, local gay media hero and parade organizer Mikael Audebert surprised the community by stepping down from his post as president of the Metropolitan Business Association, the gay chamber of commerce that serves as parent company to Pride. Details are still sketchy on just where this local tale will end – some pretty heavy allegations of financial wrongdoing have been issued, then retracted, then issued, then retracted – but it's safe to say that there will be an upheaval in the newly challenged MBA, and Pride's future hangs in the balance. Audebert, it should be noted, was one of the gay consultants working with Mayor Jacobs. Follow the money.

Demings the breaks

When Democratic former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings threw her red power-skirt-suit into the mix to run against Mayor Jacobs early in the year, local party leaders huddled around her and lifted her upon their shoulders. The term "rock star" was thrown around, as was quite a bit of state party money. She was, the party thought, its next great hope. But things started off with a stutter and ended with an outright departure from the race (and from town, temporarily) in May. Reportedly, Demings was scared off by Washington, D.C., consultants, some comparably low fundraising, and a lack of support from some of the city's key players, her former boss Mayor Dyer included. That said, she did stand a chance, even if the moneyed Dems were lined up behind Jacobs in order to ensure continued financial support for the Dr. Phillips Center. She just gave up.

Expressway to nowhere

This publication has been calling for an end to the bloated financial pretzel known as the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority for more than a decade, but problems with the toll agency date back to before this publication even started. In May, however, State Attorney Jeff Ashton took the agency to task by releasing documents that showed just how bad this whisky-and-cigars roadshow really is. That investigation resulted in some pretty high-profile charges of Sunshine Law violations and backroom deals, which should have made the problems go away. Instead, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill in June only making the agency bigger and giving it more power; the Central Florida Expressway Authority also includes Osceola County, which should be a convenient source of that sweet Disney cash. As of December, Gov. Scott was still handpicking the next winners for the expanded nine-member board. Surely nothing will go wrong.

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