AVON PARK - Rather than take his ethics violations case against the Avon Park city manager to court, Avon Park Councilman Garrett Anderson has settled his case against Julian Deleon.
A hearing had been set to decide whether Deleon could recoup attorney's fees in his defense against alleged ethics violations.
After having the complaint against him twice dismissed, the case was set to go before Florida's Division of Administrative Hearings this week in the Avon Park City Council Chambers.
However, settlement between Deleon, Anderson and their attorneys, Albert Gimbel and Bernard Dempsey, was reached in February.
Anderson will pay the City of Avon Park $12,683.58 to reimburse for Deleon's attorneys' fees. The agreement stipulates the money be paid "in one lump sum by March 31, 2014."
The settlement specifies Anderson must "refrain from alleging that Deleon is or has engaged in any illegal or unethical activity unless the statement has been verified as true in advance."
Anderson originally filed the complaint with the State of Florida Commission on Ethics March 8, 2013, alleging after his election to city council, Deleon threatened him, saying if he interfered with Deleon's personal business that "he would cause serious ramifications for my personal business," Anderson wrote in a March 7 letter to the commission, referring to his ammunition manufacturing company, Anderson Arms.
Feb. 10, the Avon Park City Council voted unanimously to reject a 50 percent settlement offer by Anderson which stemmed from a complaint against Deleon in January 2013 stating Deleon threatened him, saying if he interfered with Deleon's personal business that "he would cause serious ramifications for my personal business," Anderson wrote in a March 7 letter to the commission, referring to Anderson Arms.
Deleon said Tuesday he was glad city council had rejected Anderson's initial offer.
"We held out; we were ready for court, but Anderson opted to paying 100 percent of our legal fees. My position regarding the basis for his complaint has not changed any," he said. "I am professionally ready to move forward, although based on last night's interactions, it appears that some individuals are not. That's too bad."
Anderson said Tuesday the settlement was the "best thing to do for the city." He said there was no need to drag an issue between himself and Deleon and get taxpayers involved and said he had spent about the same amount to pay his attorney fees.
"It was a simple issue between me and him, but yet he gets backed by the city," he said. "It's been dragging on for way too long. I want to do what's better for the city and hopefully just get back to work."