The arrest of prominent opthalmologist Alan Mendelsohn could have reverberations throughout Tallahassee because of his connections to both Democratic and Republican politicians.
Much of the initial focus has been on his connections to Gov. Charlie Crist, but Mendelsohn's reach doesn't just end there.
For example, consider the list of lobbyists employed by Mutual Benefits - the company at the center of the probe that triggered Mendelsohn's arrest - at the time period cited in news accounts.
In 2004, the roster of lobbyists include Pete Antonacci, James Blosser, former Republican Party of Florida chairman Van Poole and Russ Klenet, the husband to Broward Mayor Stacy Ritter. Antonacci is a well-known attorney and former deputy Attorney General who represented Noelle Bush during his legal troubles. Blosser is a well-known Fort Lauderdale attorney and a one-time pioneer for President George Bush.
Reporter and blogger Bob Norman has written extensively about the Mutual Benefits case for several months now and has raised questions about Crist's actions as Attorney General. The feds, however, have told the Miami Herald that an investigation has cleared both Crist and current U.S. Sen. George LeMieux.
Mendelsohn was deeply involved in a notable 2001 fight over legislation that would have barred the use of optometrists in post-operative care. That bill was sponsored in the Florida House by then Rep. Mike Haridopolos as well as Rep. Jeff Atwater and Rep. Marco Rubio. In the Senate it was sponsored by Sen. Dan Webster and cosponsored by Sens. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Bill Posey (who are both now in Congress.)
Part of Mendelsohn's supposed pull was his ability to raise large amounts of money for politicians, as noted here when he helped raise money for State Sen. Eleanor Sobel last year in her primary fight with two other Broward County Democrats.
Mendelsohn has pleaded not guilty to charges, but this ongoing case could prove problematic for a lot of people.