Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole council member accuses city staffer of threatening her life

SEMINOLE — Council member Patricia Plantamura has filed a sheriff's report accusing a city department head of threatening to kill her.

She has also asked deputies for protection from Mayor Leslie Waters and council member Bob Matthews, whom she accuses of orally confronting her on separate occasions. Waters, she said, orally attacked her before a workshop; Matthews, after a meeting.

Plantamura in large part blames City Manager Frank Edmunds for the situation. In a six-page memo to Edmunds dated June 2, she accuses him of a lack of professionalism and of fostering an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation.

"I trust that you are taking this issue seriously because I am," she concluded in the memo. "For my protection, I have contacted an attorney at the Florida Commission on Ethics in Tallahassee where the alleged threat on my life has been recorded. That office has also referred me to the State of Florida Attorney General."

It is unclear whether Plantamura has filed a report with that office.

Edmunds said he finds Plantamura's accusations "ridiculous." Edmunds, who has been the city's only manager, announced his retirement Tuesday. He will leave office in January, after nearly 20 years in the position.

Plantamura is not alone in saying she fears for her safety. City Clerk Rose Benoit joined with the council member in her complaint to deputies about the alleged threat. And Benoit, on June 4, filed a formal complaint with the city's Human Resources Department alleging harassment and a hostile work environment.

In her complaint, she says the threat was "improper, unacceptable and disrespectful and must not happen again in the workplace.."

An investigation concluded her complaints were unfounded.

Plantamura's complaint arises from a public records request she made earlier this year for information related to a 2007 council vacancy. Plantamura, a candidate at the time, also applied for the vacancy. City Attorney John Elias ruled that she could not be considered because her electoral opponents were sitting council members and would have a conflict of interest

The memo Elias wrote in 2007 was not in city files when Plantamura asked for it this year although he had a copy in his office. At one point, development director Mark Ely was given the job of helping Benoit answer Plantamura's request. Benoit turned down Ely's help.

According to the sheriff's report, Ely "then got an attitude with (Benoit) and stated, 'If the council could, they would put a hit out on councilwoman Plantamura anyway.'"

Benoit told Plantamura, who reported it to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Damian Peyinghaus noted that "It does not appear any criminal charges will be filed at this time. (Ely) did not directly threaten (Plantamura or Benoit)." The case was closed and marked "solved, non-criminal."

Ely maintained he had not made any threatening statement, even as a joke.

"I did not say that," Ely said. He declined to speculate why Benoit would make up the accusation.

Benoit said this week that she stands by the accusation. Benoit said she did not take the comment as a joke.

"I really got scared,'' she said. "In today's world, you have to report it."

Likewise, Plantamura did not see the alleged comment as a joke.

"Anyone in this atmosphere would take it very, very seriously," Plantamura said this week. By "this atmosphere," Plantamura said she was referring to the number of shooting incidents across the country.

In her memo to Edmunds, she also complained about "bold confrontations" she suffered from Waters and Matthews. Matthews, she said, confronted her after a meeting to tell her to turn in a report "from an agenda item from a council meeting months earlier." Waters publicly criticized her before a workshop for an invocation Plantamura had given during a previous meeting. In response, Plantamura left the room and did not attend the workshop.

Plantamura asked that the city's community deputies be ready to intervene should she again be confronted by her fellow council members. She renewed that request in her memo:

"I am standing up for myself (and others) to advise that these bold confrontations are not acceptable. I ask again now that law enforcement be on standby at meetings so they may intercede if necessary."

Matthews agreed that he reminded Plantamura after a meeting of a job requirement that she turn in certain reports within a set time. But, Matthews said he did not see it as a confrontation: "Until I read the (memo), I wasn't aware of my threat to anyone."

Waters also agreed she had critiqued Plantamura's invocation as being outside adopted guidelines.

"It was . . . inappropriate, unacceptable and bothersome," Waters said this week. "This is politics. . . . Everybody gets whupped around or disagreed with. She's taking it personally."

As for Plantamura's critique of Edmunds: "I hold Frank Edmunds in the highest regard. I'm not taking that bait."

Contact Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Seminole council member accuses city staffer of threatening her life 06/12/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski


    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)