Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Hernando News

Former Hernando Beach fire chief arrested again

PORT RICHEY — Former Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department Chief David Freda has been arrested again, this time on a domestic battery charge. Freda also was the Brooksville Fire Department chief until the city fired him in 2017.

Freda, 32, was arrested on Citation Drive in Port Richey on Sunday after he got into a verbal argument with his live-in girlfriend, according to a a Pasco County Sheriff's Office arrest report. His employment was listed as manager of The Vue Gentleman's Club in Hudson.

The report says that a witness saw Freda arguing with and then pushing and shoving his girlfriend into her vehicle, telling her to go home.

"At that point, the witness advised the victim got out of her car, went after the defendant, and they started fighting/wrestling with each other,'' the report stated.

When the deputy approached the two, both were uncooperative, claiming that nothing physical had happened and that they were only involved in a verbal argument. Freda had minor, fresh injuries and scratches on his face and wrists, but said that he had gotten them from his dog.

"Due to both subjects being uncooperative, the defendant having fresh injuries and the witness's statement of the incident...(Freda) was determined to be the primary aggressor'' and was arrested, the report stated.

Freda was arrested last year along with two other former Hernando Beach fire chiefs on charges of organized fraud. Freda's was the most serious of the charges — organized fraud over $50,000. He and the others were accused of paying themselves salaries as volunteers. Freda was also found to have charged more than $30,000 in fees for providing training later deemed insufficient or not taught at all.

Hernando County Sheriff's detectives found that Freda spent tax dollars collected from Hernando Beach residents to buy items ranging from computers to a lawn tractor for his personal use.

Fraud charges against him and the other two former chiefs are still pending.

The volunteer fire department was disbanded by the County Commission last year after officials found numerous violations with the county's contract, ranging from the department's failure to file required audits to its failure to respond to all 911 calls for service. Hernando County Fire Rescue took over fire calls in the community.

Previous coverage

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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