Ethics Commission dismisses complaint against Deleon
From left: Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon and Public Safety Director Jason Lister at a City Hall where Deleon presented letters and emails, which he says refutes Councilman Garrett Anderson's ethics complaint against him. FILE, MARC VALERO/STAFF
AVON PARK - The State Ethics Commission dismissed Councilman Garrett Anderson ethics complaint against City Manager Julian Deleon. Ethics Commission Spokeswoman Kerrie Stillman said Friday that the commission found no probable cause in the complaint filed by Anderson. The commission's order will be entered next week. In an email to the city council members and city department heads, Deleon said, "I am pleased to inform you that my attorney in Tallahassee, Mark Herron, has advised that the ethics complaint filed by Mr. Anderson was dismissed in its entirety. "As you are aware, I waived my confidentiality rights for full public disclosure regarding the fabricated ethics charges filed by Councilman Anderson against me."
In a March 7 letter to the Commission on Ethics, Anderson wrote: "After becoming elected, Avon Park's city manager, Julian Deleon, threatened me stating that if I made an attempt to interfere in any of his personal business, that he would cause serious ramifications for my personal business, Anderson Arms." Anderson stated in the letter that Deleon threatened Highlands County Building Department inspector S.Y. Moseley and Avon Park Fire Department's Interim Chief David Cloud and told them that their jobs would be "in jeopardy" if they did not comply with his demands and find a complaint with Anderson Arms. Ethics Commission Advocate Melody Hadley, who reviewed the complaint, reported in August that there was insufficient evidence to show Deleon corruptly used his position to secure a benefit for himself or others by threatening and/or attempting to threaten Anderson. In his email Deleon said, "From the onset, I have maintained that Mr. Anderson maliciously filed the complaint to damage my professional reputation because of a personal vendetta against me. He knowingly 'swore' and attested to false statements in a written document to the Commission on Ethics." Deleon mentioned other complaints against the city that were dismissed. "I would also add that this past week one of the lawsuits filed by Lakeland Attorney Robert Grizzard on behalf of [former city employee] Sally Perry against the city has also been dismissed in Federal Court," he said. "We intend on seeking attorney's fees for yet another frivolous lawsuit." Similarly, about three months ago, Tammy Macklin, union president for AFSCME, filed an FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) complaint against the city's water system, Deleon said. This complaint was independently investigated by FDEP and was dismissed in its entirety. Referring to the unsuccessful complaints against him and the city, Deleon said, "It is my belief that with time the record speaks for itself, their batting average is 'zero.' The associations of many of these individuals against the city's government is also evident." Deleon said his administration has shown diligence in all aspects of city government while providing the most efficient and lean operation in Highlands County. "In the past two years, we have reduced property taxes by 95 percent, reduced garbage rates by 20 percent, will eliminate the city's long term multi-million dollar debt by this coming December, implemented the only recycling program in Highlands County, grown the city limits by more than two square miles and annexed South Florida State College into our corporate limits. "We are doing the right things for the Avon Park taxpayer and fighting off the wrong things." Anderson could not be reached for comment. firstname.lastname@example.org 863-386-5826