Florida Commission on Ethics Finds Probable Cause, Sends Fernandez Complaint to Evidentiary Hearing

Florida Commission on Ethics Finds Probable Cause, Sends Fernandez Complaint to Evidentiary Hearing

The Florida Commission on Ethics voted 8-0 today to accept staff’s probable cause recommendations related to a complaint filed against former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez.

A finding of probable cause is not a determination that a violation has occurred. Such a determination is made only after a full evidentiary hearing on the allegations.

Dr. Erwin Jackson, a local business owner and watchdog of local government, filed the complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics addressing three separate issues involving Mr. Fernandez.

Jackson, who was allowed in the closed-door hearing, told TR the staff recommendation determined that the Edison catering discount was a gift valued at over $6,000 and that Fernandez received 16 football tickets valued at $128 each.

If a settlement is not reached between Fernandez and the Commission on Ethics, a full hearing will take place in the coming months.

Jackson told TR that the “Florida Ethics Commission has confirmed today, what I have been saying for several years, that Rick Fernandez used his position as city manager for his personal financial gain. He is finally being held accountable for his unethical actions. I am certain several other city officials will be held accountable soon. I am disappointed that our city commissioners gave Fernandez a $100,000 bonus to get him to resign. Shameful.”

The complaint and the statement of facts addressed a discount that the daughter of Rick Fernandez received from the Edison restaurant for a catering event, the hiring of the salesperson for the catering event, Eddie Kring, without publicly advertising the job, and accepting football tickets from the owner of the Edison restaurant and city lobbyist Adam Corey in 2016.

TR broke stories in 2017 on the catering discount, the unadvertised job provided to Kring, and the solicitation of football tickets by Fernandez.

After TR’s reporting, the Tallahassee Democrat recovered a copy of a text message showing Fernandez soliciting football tickets from a city lobbyist.

Also, the Tallahassee Democrat’s Jeff Burlew reported earlier this week that the Florida Commission on Ethics would recommend “that former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez be charged with violating state ethics laws, according to sources close to the matter.”

9 Responses to "Florida Commission on Ethics Finds Probable Cause, Sends Fernandez Complaint to Evidentiary Hearing"

  1. I’d like to know why andy gillum (lower case intentional) never had ethics charges brought against him after he bought personal property for personal use with city tax $$$.

    1. It’s too bad the good citizens no longer have the legal option of the “Tar and Feather” process. All local elected officials and upper City of Tallahassee management employees would have never been such criminal jerks if we did. Of course if we still had it, today we may not use the “Tar and Feather” process on Curtis or Andy, because that would be raciest!!!
      Oh and by the way Franklin Thompson that’s also the answer to your above question “why Jack Campbell and other local and State officials (Rick and Pam) will not bring ethics charges against “Dirty” Mayor Andy?” I feel the local FBI “investigating” criminal activity of our dirty local usual suspects also fall into the Rick and Pam camp on Mayor Andy.
      It would really not be raciest though to punish the criminal Andy. It would be JUSTICE. But Jack Campbell and other local and State officials (Rick and Pam) are gutless cowards. True word.
      Sorry for the gentle readers quivering pain and outrage but truth often hurts more than lies.

  2. Wait until somebody reports on the truth about what Rocky Hanna did. He and others that put together the notebook and orchestrated the actions of state and federal authorities o will go into deep solence and hidong when tbe truth comes out. The community will be “rocked” and demand answers from him and the inaction of the school board to hold him accountable.

    1. Off topic, Dude.
      It would be really helpful and interesting if you would write a complete editorial on your issue and submit it to the editor.
      That way, we could all benefit from your comprehensive knowledge of “what Rocky Hanna did” wherever and however.
      Meanwhile, it helps us all when comments are more focused.

      1. Seen It All,
        The topic is ethics, or rather lack of ethics. Rocky Hanna admitted to the school board attorney, the former president of the Florida bar, Hank Coxe, that he (Rocky) had no first hand knowledge of any wrong doing when he submitted his notebook to newspaper outlets, news stations and state & federal authorities. Rocky stated for the record to Hank Coxe that he wrote the summaries for each section of the notebook that were false and misleading. The investigation cost taxpayers $600,000. Rocky admitted to at least two ethics violations. Why the school board has not sent this to the Florida Department of Education for investigation as Rocky violated the educators code of conduct is an outrage. In addition, please read the affidavit available through an internet search when a monetary settlement was provided to a teacher he dated and had transferred. When tbe teacher endef tbe relationship. The person who investigated Rocky, Kathleen Rodgers was promptly promoted to an Assistant Superintendent without an interview when Rocky won an elected Superintendent position. More to come as Steve Stewart looks into the matter.

  3. He gutted the City of workers who had been long tenured employees in various departments years away from pensions so he could cut budgets and gain bonuses. He used his position to gain favors. He was as dirty as any we’ve had in a while. Now the City General Counsel should be let go. As well as a majority of the Commissioners.

  4. On another note, anyone check out that Children’s Services Survey in the local rag, polled by a Usual Suspect?
    The 400 respondents are skewed towards Democrats and women. And when the funding by raising property tax questions are asked, support still goes negative!
    Even with a skewed sampling.
    Additionally, the favorable percentage for the question about the local rag is listed at 57%, even though the numbers only add up to 51%. Oops.

  5. Thank you Dr. Jackson.
    I perdict the action from another government entity will get the slow rolling foot draging FBI up and out of their comfy chairs.
    Expect Federal indictments on our dirty local usual suspects to drop soon !!!

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