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New details emerge in Plant City sex scandal

Former Plant City police Chief Steven Single­tary cheated on his wife while on city time, officials said.

Plant City Observer

Former Plant City police Chief Steven Single­tary cheated on his wife while on city time, officials said.

TAMPA — The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office is expected to make a decision soon in the case of former Plant City police Chief Steven Singletary, who was caught cheating on his wife while on city time.

Singletary and Plant City Commissioner Billy Keel, who was accused of impeding an investigation into the affair, were cleared by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement earlier this month. But an FDLE report released Wednesday includes new details of the investigation. It was turned over to the State Attorney's Office.

In the report, city officials said an investigation showed that Singletary, a 45-year-old father of three, earned about $350 for eight hours of work while he was out of the office having a liaison with Melissa Hardwick, a married woman.

The affair lasted 18 months, according to the report. The date in question was December 31, 2013.

About 8:30 a.m. that day, Singletary parked his police-issued Ford Explorer in the lot of the Family Practice Center off Alexander Road. He and Hardwick met at this location, according to Hardwick's testimony, because it "had a big hedge so his car would be covered up."

Singletary got into Hardwick's car, and together they rode to Lakeland, where she checked into a hotel using his money. About 4 p.m., Hardwick dropped Singletary back at his vehicle. Singletary and Hardwick joined their respective spouses, and then they all went out later that evening.

Asked in the report whether Singletary made any mention of his duty status, Hardwick said, "He always told me that he took the day off … every time."

Capts. Jerry Stwan and David Millich said they spoke with Singletary on the phone on December 31 but never saw him or heard him on the radio during their shifts. The various calls amounted to eight minutes and 37 seconds.

The FDLE also searched Hardwick's cellphone. Multiple texts flew between Hardwick and Singletary on Dec. 31, indicating they spent the day together.

As recently as last week, Courtney Singletary maintained that her husband never used company time to conduct the affair.

In February, after he was fired, Singletary told interim police Chief John Boulders that "I worked part of that day. I told them to take five hours off."

Contact Zack Peterson at zpeterson@tampabay.com. Follow @zackpeterson918.

New details emerge in Plant City sex scandal 07/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:39pm]
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