(Dec. 7) As speculation mounts about a slew of pardons coming from President Trump in his final five weeks in office, it’s worth renewing my suggestion that Florida businessman James Batmasian merits executive clemency.

I first wrote in February about Batmasian, whom I have never met, after being apprised of his situation. Batmasian is a self-made billionaire and was a pillar of his community when he was convicted for what amounted to a minor administrative shortcut. To escape a bookkeeping hassle, he paid full-time employees as contract workers when they did extra work alongside other temporary, nonemployee, contract workers.

It was essentially a victimless crime. But after owning up to his error and making restitution, Batmasian served eight months in prison. Both before and after this legal hiccup, Batmasian and his wife have been noted philanthropists, earning rave notices from area publications for their efforts both generous and hands-on. Perhaps a bit extravagantly, one such story, newly published, ends by saying, “Considering the massive number of people he has helped, and all the children he has positively influenced, it’s a given that Jim Batmasian has paved his path to heaven.”

Batmasian served his time a full decade ago, but without a pardon, he continues to lack privileges most citizens take for granted….

[The full column is here.]

NOTE: On Dec. 23, two weeks after this column was published, Trump indeed did pardon Batmasian.


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