Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

FDLE inquiry into Plant City scandal now in hands of prosecutors

TAMPA — A state investigation into an assertion that Plant City Commissioner Billy Keel interfered with a local inquiry that led to the police chief's ouster in January has been turned over to prosecutors for review.

Keel supported a vote this year by his commission colleagues to refer the issue to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Commission on Ethics.

He had asked for an independent investigation and said in a written statement at the time that he looked "forward to a day where my name is completely and unequivocally cleared."

The FDLE has now given its case to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office.

"We turned our findings over to State Attorney (Bernie) McCabe's Office," FDLE spokesman Steve Arthur wrote in an email. The state attorney's office said Thursday that the case remains under investigation.

The ethics commission said Thursday it could neither confirm nor deny it had such a case.

Plant City police Chief Steve Singletary was fired after officials determined he had carried on an extramarital affair while on city time and sick leave.

Melissa Hardwick, the woman having the affair with Singletary, swore under oath that Keel attempted through a friend to persuade her to say nothing if questioned by investigators about the relationship.

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