Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Activist files ethics complaints against three Hillsborough officials

TAMPA — A neighborhood activist has filed complaints with the Florida Ethics Commission against three Hillsborough County officials.

George Niemann's complaints focused on County Administrator Pat Bean, County Attorney Renee Lee and County Commissioner Kevin White.

"What I've charged in all three circumstances is that they've used the power of their official office to gain benefits that they weren't otherwise entitled to," said Niemann, a board member for the United Citizens' Action Network.

Niemann said Bean and Lee abused their power by accepting 1 percent raises in 2007 without approval of the Hillsborough County Commission.

"It says in their contracts that no one can change the terms of the contracts except the board of county commissioners," Niemann said. "(They) changed the terms of their contracts without board approval. In a general sense it's the misuse of public trust."

Commissioners didn't know of the raises until an internal auditor pointed them out in a report released last month.

Bean and Lee have argued that the raises were part of a long-standing incentive program to reward employees who come up with ways to save the county money. They say they were nominated anonymously for the raises, but county officials have been unable to provide documentation of that.

Kay Starling, complaint coordinator for the Ethics Commission, said such complaints are confidential until thoroughly investigated, which could take several months.

But Lee said she was notified last week of the complaint, which Niemann filed last month. She forwarded a response to the Ethics Commission.

"I didn't ask for a raise. I didn't want a raise," Lee said. She also said she was under the impression that the commission had been told about it during budget meetings two years ago. She later learned that was not the case.

Niemann said he filed the complaint against White because the commissioner tried to use his office to gain sexual favors from his aide, Alyssa Ogden. A jury found White guilty of sexual discrimination in August. Ogden said she was fired for refusing White's advances.

Niemann said White also violated state statutes by sharing confidential information about Ogden, such as her cell phone number, with his friend, C. Blythe Andrews.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Activist files ethics complaints against three Hillsborough officials 10/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2009 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gay, black leaders speak about finding their place

    Relationships

    When Lillian Dunlap moved to Florida at age 52 in 1999 she could finally breathe. The journalism professor from the University of Missouri and the University of Indiana hadn't been able live openly as a gay woman until then. She had considered coming out before but never did.

    Terri Lipsey Scott (standing) welcomed panelists Bob Devin Jones, Desmond Clark, Lillian Dunlap, Trevor Pettiford and Sheree Greer. Moderator Nadine Smith not pictured.
  2. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  3. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  4. No tapes: Trump says he didn't record meetings with Comey

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday he "did not make" and doesn't have any recordings of his private conversations with ousted FBI Director James Comey, speaking up on Twitter after a month-long guessing game that began with him delivering an ominous warning and ended with his administration ensnared …

    President Donald Trump speaks during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Washington. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]