Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Politics

Ethics complaint against Hernando commissioner cites failure to disclose condo

BROOKSVILLE — A complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics against Hernando County Commissioner John Druzbick by the media liaison of his opponent in next week's Republican primary election.

Druzbick was informed of the complaint in a letter dated July 20. While Florida law forbids the Ethics Commission from revealing the existence of a complaint until certain events take place in the inquiry, Druzbick on Tuesday confirmed that he had received the notice.

The basis of the complaint is that Druzbick failed to properly disclose his ownership interest in a $450,000 condominium in Daytona Beach that he and his wife, Deborah Walker-Druzbick, had owned from 2006 until it went into foreclosure in 2009.

The property turned up in Volusia County property records when the Tampa Bay Times was researching another Daytona Beach condominium the Druzbicks owned that also went into foreclosure at about the same time.

Druzbick argued that he did not include the more expensive condo on his financial disclosure form because the mortgage was tied to a note signed off on only by his wife, based exclusively on her financial information. But both the mortgage and the deed on file with Volusia County list both Druzbick and his wife.

Immediately after talking to the Times in June, Druzbick called the Ethics Commission and was told that, while he might not have had to mention the condo as a liability on his form, he should have listed it as an asset. Since then, Druzbick has refiled his financial disclosures, including the condo.

Druzbick said that Danielle Alexandre is listed on the forms he received as the complainant. Alexandre is candidate Jason Sager's media liaison. The Times story was also included as an attachment in the complaint.

Alexandre provided a copy of the Ethics Commission's notification letter to Druzbick to the Times on Tuesday after the topic was discussed on a local radio show, though she made no mention that she had been the complainant. She noted that Sager had no plans to issue a press release about the topic.

Druzbick said he was upset about the filing.

"It's ironic because anyone can file a complaint about anything,'' he said. "I did everything the Ethics Commission told me to do.''

He said he wishes Sager and other candidates would stick to the issues in the race.

"The kid has done nothing but stir controversy,'' he said. "He's not saying anything about how he is going to help Hernando County.''

The winner in Tuesday's Republican primary will face Democrat Diane Rowden, no-party candidate Greg Sheldon and write-in candidate Tanya Marsh in the November general election.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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