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Beruff Loses Appeal on Ethics Violations


TALLAHASSEE — Last July, the Florida Commission on Ethics finally voted to adopt a draft order affirming an Administrative Law Judge's recommended order regarding ethics violations by politically powerful developer Carlos Beruff. It was the culmination of a five-year process.

Beruff then appealed the ruling. However, the developer lost the appeal and the ethics commission recently forwarded the ruling and its original recommendation to Gov. DeSantis, noting that "the matter is now ripe for your consideration."

In 2020, the commission found probable cause after investigating a complaint filed in June 2017, by environmental group Manasota-88. The complaint alleged that the requirements to disclose assets on financial disclosures for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015 had not been met by Beruff.

Beruff admitted in testimony that his financials did not comply with the requirements, stating that he did not fill out the forms, which he said were completed by an employee who prepared them before he added his signature and submitted them to the state.

Additionally, Manasota-88 alleged that Beruff, while serving as chairman of the SWFWMD board, had a voting conflict when he made a motion to approve a permit to destroy wetlands that benefited fellow developer Pat Neal. Neal and Beruff were beneficial owners of several lots in a development known as the Inlets, the same property that was not described as required on financial disclosures Beruff filed.

In May of this year, an administrative law judge wrote that Beruff should get a $1,500 fine, official reprimand, and public censure for failing to properly disclose information on the forms.

"I've been serving as an advocate since 2009, this is by far the worst case of failing to disclose that I've ever seen," said Melody Hadley, Ethics Commission Advocate during the ethics hearing


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  • WTF

    The find is laughable. Just what is "official reprimand" contribute to the Judges reelection. Corrupt all the way to the top of our Judiciary. What a farce to the Citizens that actuality want to protect the environment

    Wednesday, October 11, 2023 Report this

  • Cat L

    That's not even a slap on the wrist for that guy.... it is so frustrating that someone can just hijack the direction of an area based on how much money they throw around. This schmuck catalyzed Manatee County out of a plan to centralize services for everyone, for no other reason than he is selfish.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2023 Report this

  • barbaraelliott

    Laughable but maybe useful as far as holding other corrupt officials accountable. They don't like their reputation sullied or their wallets impacted. Think of any developer on a board, any board, because they all have to fill out disclosures Forms 1 At the supervisor of elections office in Manatee by September 1st for the previous year. Next year there will be another Form 1 that is more intimate, more transparent, easier to catch offenders.Less time to get complaints addressed. If everyone chose one person on a city council, county commission, school, water, park, or planning etc board, we could put officials on notice that they are being observed. Maybe we need to start a 'Manatee Transparency Club'? I sorta have one. It's called Stone Soup Manatee Inc.

    What particularly bothers me is now DeSantis decides. Considering the courts decisions and the ethics decision, what do you think he'll do? Carlos and Neal contribute lots of campaign money to him through dark money pacs. Besides that Neal recommends judge appointments to DeSantis through his seat on the Judicial Nominating Committe since 1997. Check out Neal's disclosures. I bet you'll find the same crap Beruff pulled.

    The disclosures are online and you may request a copy(s) from the Manatee SOE office by phone or email. Various form 6 requirements may be found and requested from the Florida Ethics Commission by phone or email as well. Good luck and happy hunting. Anyone, not just attorneys can make a complaint. You must have proof beyond news articles such as meetings minutes, agendas, property records etc. depending on the case. Cite statutes violated in state law and it would not hurt to throw in references to state ethic decisions and/or applicable court cases. The complaint form is on the Florida Commission on Ethics website to download, print, complete with attachments, notarize and mail.

    You can also submit a complaint to the FBI tip line or by mail to Washington DC IF the complaint involves the use of federal funds in any way. Pick any politician or board member you don't trust and do the work, it's not that hard or time consuming for only one of these power, money hungry, good ol boy club jerks. Even if you don't persevere using the truth, your ethics complaint

    complaint will follow them to every election cycle and cost them votes, and approval to board positions.

    I have two to write the next few days. If I can, you can. Will you accept my challenge to do the same? If you need help just give me a call or text. Anytime. Also call/text if you'd like to start a Manatee Transparency Club. Imagine the fear felt by offenders, that there is a professional ethics violations writing club. Hahahaha. If Beruff is guilty maybe Pat Neal is too.

    Barbara Elliott

    Stone Soup Manatee Inc stonesoupmanatee@yahoo.com


    Thursday, October 12, 2023 Report this