After its regular monthly meeting, the Hillsborough County Commission held a ceremony for three of its own leaving the board, but one former commissioner, incoming Florida Sen. Jim Norman, did not attend.

Norman, R-Tampa, has not appeared publicly since revelations surfaced following a lawsuit that he failed to disclose a $500,000 gift from a Tampa businessman who regularly appeared before the Hillsborough County Commission.

Prior to the election, a circuit judge threw Norman off the ballot for not disclosing the gift which his wife used to purchase an Arkansas home. An appeals court overturned that ruling and Norman won the District 12 Senate seat handily without opposition from Democrats.

On Thursday, commissioners honored Norman and two other colleagues, Commissioners Kevin White and Rose Ferlita, but Norman sent a letter saying he couldn’t attend because of his work on the transition to the Senate, the St. Peterburg Times reported.

Norman has not spoken publicly about the controversy that rocked his campaign. Those close to him have said Norman has recently been the subject of a federal grand jury inquiry, but the status of a federal investigation is unclear.

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