Saturday, October 24, 2020

Ethics Commission Investigates Complaint


Photo by Steve “Stef” Stefanides | Former Director of Community Affairs, Bryan Milk.

A long simmering dispute between three property owners on Marco Island and the former Director of Community Affairs, Bryan Milk, entered a new chapter in June. The dispute cost Milk his job when questions arose regarding his alleged business connections with the owners of Progressive Auto Center on Bald Eagle Drive and whether or not he had violated any laws.

In an order made public on June 13, the Florida Commission on Ethics ruled that sufficient evidence was found by the Commission’s Advocate to rule that “probable cause” regarding violations of the following state statutes were found and would refer the matter to the entire state ethics board for their ruling.

The Statutes that may have been violated included:

  • Section 112.3145 Florida Statutes, by failing to disclose ownership in and/or income from two private entities on the CE Form 1, “Statement of Financial Interests” for calendar years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • Violated Section 112.313(6) by using his official position to secure a special privilege, benefit or exemption for himself and/or others.
  • Violated Section 112.313 7) (a) Florida Statues by maintaining a contractual relationship with certain business entities which were subject to the regulation of and/or doing business with his own agency.

The Commission’s Advocate did not find adequate evidence of a violation of Statute 112.313(3) by doing business with his own agency, as alleged in the complaint.

The date and place of hearing before the board has yet to be set. Milk may opt to pursue a settlement in the complaint without going before the entire Ethics Board. The maximum fine for each violation would reach $10,000 per violation.

Milk was unavailable for comment.

Jerry Helms, owner of Marco Storage who brought the complaint did speak to the Coastal Breeze News. In a statement he said, “The people have to know that their government officials are without reproach and can’t be involved in activities such as this. From day one they should have referred this for an independent criminal investigation. Maybe now we’ll get some justice.”

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