The Florida Commission on Ethics voted to accept a settlement in the case against former Tallahassee City Manage Rick Fernandez.
The investigation found that Fernandez accepted Florida State University skybox tickets for football games from local lobbyist and city vendor Adam Corey.
The investigation also found that Fernandez received a $5,000 catering discount at the Edison restaurant for services provided at his daughter’s wedding.
Adam Corey is an investor in the The Edison which has a contract with the City of Tallahassee.
After initial reports, the Tallahassee Democrat recovered a Fernandez text message which verified TR’s reporting on the skybox football tickets.
The settlement includes a $6,000 fine and Fernandez will face a public reprimand.
The ethics complaint was filed by local businessman Erwin Jackson who attended the hearing. Jackson was disappointed that the fine was less the benefit that Fernandez received by breaking the ethics rules.
“I was pleased that the self serving actions of Rick Fernandez were found to be a violation of the ethics rules. I would hope that in the future that the fine for acting gifts will be greater than the benefit enjoyed by the public official,” said Jackson.
Jackson told TR he believed that the fine for accepting gifts should be a multiple of the benefit received.