APRIL 24, 2009
The career of a respected Florida appellate court judge has come to a disgraceful end over an affair with an exotic dancer that the veteran jurist also helped hide assets to avoid creditors.
Rather than respond to the scandalous charges filed by his state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, Thomas Stringer resigned from the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeals. Republican Governor Jeb Bush appointed Stringer to the court in 1999 and he heard appellate cases from the northern Florida counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.
It turns out that the married judge—a father of four—was also quite busy away from the courtroom, committing acts that “constitute conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary,” according to Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.
For years Stringer was romantically involved with an exotic dancer who last spring decided to go public with the affair. According to charges filed by the state’s Judicial Commission, the judge opened bank accounts in his name and let his stripper girlfriend use them from 2003 to 2007 to hide the money from credit collectors.
The commission’s complaint also says that the judge listed himself as the sole owner of a Hawaiian house which belonged to his girlfriend and he leased a New York apartment for her. In return, the girlfriend paid for the judge’s trip and stay at a lavish Las Vegas hotel as well as expensive watches for him and his wife. The stripper also gave the judge $50,000, according to the complaint.
Rather than defend the charges, Stringer quit and agreed never to be a judge again so that he could keep his hefty $8,069 monthly public pension. As an appellate judge his annual salary was $153,140. In 2003 Stringer was one of the three members of the 2nd District Court of Appeals that ruled in support of a judicial homicide order in the case of a disabled woman named Terri Schiavo.
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