Saturday, April 1, 2017

LTE: Conflicts of Interest on Board with Gabbert?

LTE to Herald Tribune 4.1.17:

Crowd at Commission Chamber for Restaurant Depot Hearing

Oath and honor?
Sarasota County Commissioner Michael Moran said “there is no conflict of interest” at the public hearing for the Celery Fields rezoning, “We have taken the oath of office.” Disclosure of the names of the buyers was the problem and The Restaurant Depot later withdrew its offer.
I wanted to see the oath.
Essentially, it states: I swear to protect and defend the constitutions of the United States and the state of Florida; I am duly (properly) qualified and I will well and faithfully perform the duties of Sarasota County commissioner.
I asked the county clerk by email if that oath meant that if commissioners received campaign contributions from the buyer of county-owned property and rezoning was at stake, or if they had any shares or stocks with said buyer, should they recuse themselves? I never got an answer.
Another sale of county-owned property within the Celery Fields is still pending. Developer James Gabbert wants to build an industrial waste recycling facility. The Celery Fields is a wildlife and Audubon preserve. (I know, it seems unconscionable.)
But the real big, fat elephant is that commissioners Moran, Paul Caragiulo, and Alan Maio received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Gabbert. These contributions are legal.
The perception here is so obvious, so egregious, that anyone can see what’s going on. Pollution, excessive traffic, and disruption of a wildlife habitat are at stake. Voice your opinions to the honorable county commissioners.
Dennis Robertson, Sarasota

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