The Florida Today reports that Ralph Kennedy, a former Canaveral Port Authority commissioner, pleaded guilty on June 21, 2011 to two felony counts of public corruption as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Brevard County Judge Robert Burger sentenced the 55-year-old Kennedy, owner of a Merritt Island construction company, to four years probation and ordered him to pay $3,059 to Florida’s Office of Statewide Prosecution to cover expenses. The plea followed months of negotiations between the Office of Statewide Prosecution and Kennedy’s attorney, Brian Onek, and ends a 20-month legal saga that ended Kennedy’s 19-year stint as a port commissioner.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Kennedy in November, charging him with unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior, both felonies. Investigators said Kennedy used his position as a public official to advance business projects of friends and political supporters. Kennedy resigned from his seat as a Canaveral Port Authority commissioner in October 2009 as news of the FDLE investigation of activities at Port Canaveral began to surface.
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