Linda McKee Robison Chair Stanley M. Weston Vice Chair Michelle Anchors Matthew F. Carlucci Michael Cox I. Martin Ford Tom Freeman Wiley Horton Susan Horovitz Maurer Virlindia Doss Executive Director StateofFlorida COMMISSION ON ETHICS P.O. Drawer 15709 Tallahassee, Florida 32317-5709 325 John Knox Road Building E, Suite 200 Tallahassee, Florida 32303 C. Christopher Anderson, III General Counsel/ Deputy Executive Director (850) 488-7864 Phone (850) 488-3077 (FAX) www.ethics.state.fl.us "A Public Office is a Public Trust" ______________________________________________________________________ PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release January 28, 2015 CONTACT PERSON: Virlindia Doss or Kerrie J. Stillman 850.488.7864 May be accessed on the Internet at www.ethics.state.fl.us TALLAHASSEE—January 28, 2015— Meeting in Tallahassee on January 23rd in closed session, the Florida Commission on Ethics took action on 28 complaints, Vice Chair Stanley Weston announced today. The Commission found probable cause to believe that H. MARLENE O’TOOLE, Florida Representative for District 33, failed to disclose a voting conflict when she voted on the 2013 General Appropriations Act that included a specific appropriation for her employer. Probable cause also was found to believe that she failed to follow disclosure requirements when she voted regarding the disbursement of a settlement fund that inured to the special private gain of her employer. No probable cause was found to believe that JOHN SWEENEY, former Hernando County School Board member, misused his position to benefit his son. No State of Florida Commission on Ethics 2 Press Release January 28, 2015 probable cause also was found to believe that he used inside information, obtained because of his position, in an effort to benefit his son. The Commission found probable cause to believe that JOHNATHAN DAUGHERTY, Atlantic Beach City Commissioner, attempted to use his position to receive preferential treatment during traffic stops with Atlantic Beach police officers. However, the Commission found no probable cause to believe that he misused his position to avoid the consequences of failing to register his vehicles and switching license plates between vehicles he owns. No probable cause was found to believe that Eatonville Town Councilmember ALVIN MOORE misused his position to push the agenda of a campaign contributors. The Commission also found no probable cause to believe that Mr. Moore solicited or accepted a thing of value with the understanding that his vote or actions would be influenced. No probable cause also was found on an allegation that he accepted a thing of value meant to influence his vote or actions. The Commission also considered a complaint filed against Representative DANE EAGLE. No probable cause was found to believe that he failed to follow voting conflict disclosure requirements when he voted on HB593 which affected the Florida Home Builder’s Association, but which didn't affect his employer, the Lee Building Industry Association. The Commission dismissed the following complaints for lack of legal sufficiency: ERIC HAINES, Chief Deputy of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office; WILLIAM SHEARON, Bradenton Beach Mayor; MICHAEL BLACKBURN, Inspector General of the Florida Department of Education; SEAN SCHELLER, Lantana Police Chief; JOE State of Florida Commission on Ethics 3 Press Release January 28, 2015 FORTE, Deputy County Manager for Seminole County; ANDREW NEFF, Seminole County Environmental District Manager; LEE RICCI, Seminole County Human Resources Manager; WILLIAM “JOHNNY” EDWARDS, Seminole County Solid Waste Division Manager; LINDA WILLIAMS, Northeast Florida State Hospital Assistant Administrator; TERRANCE O’NEIL, Stuart Development Director; MELINDA MIGUEL, State of Florida Chief Inspector General; KIM ROMEISER, Investigator for the Chief Inspector General’s Office; SHARMIN HIBBERT, Manager in the Allied Health Section in the Florida Department of Health; DAVID W. MINER, Manatee County School Board Member; SHANE ASHLEY MANSHIP, Assistant Public Defender in Ft. Pierce; MICHAEL LINN, Assistant State Attorney in Stuart ; JOHN HETHERINGTON, Assistant Public Defender in Martin County; LINDA KAY BALDREE, Assistant State Attorney in Ft. Pierce; CAROLYN TIMMANN, Martin County Clerk of Courts; CHRISTOPHER ANTHONY GASTON, Assistant State Attorney in Martin County; PATRICK GILLEN, Assistant State Attorney in Martin County; JOHN JARED LITHGOW, Assistant Public Defender in Martin County; and STEVE WHIDDEN, Hendry County Sheriff. The Commission's reviews for legal sufficiency are limited to questions of jurisdiction and determinations as to whether the contents of the complaint are adequate to allege a violation of the Code of Ethics or other laws within its jurisdiction. As no factual investigation precedes the reviews, the Commission's conclusions do not reflect on the accuracy of the allegations made in these complaints. PUBLIC SESSION In public session, the Commission considered a Joint Stipulation between the Commission Advocate and BARBARA SUE REVELS, Flagler County Commissioner. State of Florida Commission on Ethics 4 Press Release January 28, 2015 According to the settlement agreement, Ms. Revels violated the voting conflict statute by voting in May 2013 on a measure that brought special private gain or loss to her business associates. A second voting conflict violation occurred in August 2013 when she voted on another measure that caused special private gain or loss to her business associates. No probable cause was found to believe that she accepted a thing of value intended to influence her vote, and that allegation was dismissed. A civil penalty totaling $2,500 will be recommended for imposition by the Governor. The Florida Commission on Ethics is an independent nine-member commission formed in 1974 to review complaints filed under the statutory Code of Ethics and to answer questions from public officials about potential conflicts of interest through its issuance of advisory opinions. If the Ethics Commission believes a violation of the law may have occurred, it may decide to hold a public hearing. If it concludes a violation has been committed, it may recommend civil penalties that include removal from office or employment and fines up to $10,000 per violation.
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