REDINGTON SHORES — A citizen's complaint about the town's efforts to pave a beach access is in the hands of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
As yet, no decision has been made to conduct an official investigation into allegations that the Town Commission violated the Sunshine Law and took other improper actions to benefit a former town official.
Doyle Jourdan, chief investigator for the State Attorney's office, confirmed Tuesday that he had asked the Sheriff's Office to consider investigating the complaint made by Redington Shores resident Holger Gleim.
"At the request of State Attorney (Bernie) McCabe, I am forwarding this letter to you for whatever action you deem appropriate," Jourdan said in a letter sent to Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Robert Gualtieri last week.
Jourdan said Tuesday it was routine for his office to refer potentially criminal complaints to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation.
"We are a prosecutorial agency and although we do have our own investigative staff, we prefer to send complaints to law enforcement," Jourdan said.
Gualtieri could not be reached for comment, and town officials were unaware that there may be a pending investigation of the beach access controversy.
"Based on a chain of actions taken by the board, I believe that some members of the board have been acting under a plan to allow public assets to inure to the benefit of private individuals, and in all likelihood, that one or more members of the board may be receiving monetary gain from such plan," Gleim said in a letter to both the state attorney general in Tallahassee and to the state attorney's office.
Specifically named in Gleim's complaint and in Jourdan's letter to Gualtieri is the town's former mayor, J.J. Beyrouti.
Gleim alleges the town has acted inappropriately in handling a proposed redevelopment of Beyrouti's property, located at the intersection of Lee and 177th avenues.
"This is absolutely ridiculous. This false allegation is totally irresponsible," Beyrouti said Tuesday.
Beyrouti has a FEMA grant to redevelop and raise the building above flood level, but does not yet have a building permit to begin the project. His building plan must first be approved by the town's Planning and Zoning Board and then by the Commission.
Part of that plan is a request by the Planning and Zoning Board that Beyrouti pay for paving a beach access on the north side of the property.
Beyrouti and town officials stressed Tuesday that the easement has never been part of Beyrouti's property. It was dedicated to the town by the adjacent property owner more than a decade ago and before Beyrouti purchased his property.
The town is in the process of paving a number of its beach access points, including another easement just to the south at the intersection of Lee and 176th avenues.
That easement was landscaped without town permission by an adjacent property owner and is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the 79-unit Gulf Mariner condominium at 17580 Gulf Blvd.
The condominium association claims the town has no right to change the existing beach access point on the north side of the condominium complex.
The town wants to pave the beach access so it can be used by beach maintenance vehicles.