DailyCommercial.com: FDLE investigating allegations in Fruitland Park

By Livi Stanford | Staff Writer at the Daily Commercial

Contact: livi.stanford@dailycommercial.com 

From the Daily Commercial, Thursday, December 19, 2013:

Image of Mayor Bell

Mayor Chris Bell on charity mission in Nicaragua

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking into allegations that Fruitland Park Mayor Chris Bell created a conflict of interest by having a city employee make repairs on the mayor’s home.

Samantha Andrews, a spokeswoman for the FDLE, confirmed this week the investigation is “active,” but would not provide any further details.

In paperwork submitted to the FDLE, former City Commissioner Jim Richardson, who lost his re-election bid in November 2012, stated that acting Public Works Director and Building Department Director Charlie Rector was “employed by the mayor to build the home while working for the city and being paid by the city, creating a frequent conflict between Rector’s private interest and discharge of his public duties.”

Richardson also alleges Rector labored on the mayor’s home during hours he was supposed to be working for the city.

Furthermore, Richardson claims this work was in “exchange for continued employment by the city as directed by the mayor.”

Responding to the allegations, Bell said he began contracting with Rector well before he became employed by the city. Rector has his own construction company.

Even so, Bell said Tuesday that “Charlie Rector never raised a hammer on my house. He never did any of the construction.”

Bell said Rector’s son, Clay Rector, worked on the addition of his home.

However, in a letter Charlie Rector sent to the city on April 1, 2013, he announced he will no longer be the contractor, saying, “The project is completed with the exception of kitchen cabinets and tops, floor coverings and hand railings to porch as a brief outline.”

A permit for the home was taken out in February 2011 by Charlie Rector and Clay Rector took over the work after April 1, that letter stated.

Bell said Richardson’s claims are unsubstantiated and not true.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>