Thursday, June 11, 2015

SAB Ethics Coverup? Amateur Hour at St. Augustine Beach? City Attorney Used City Seal to Advertise on His Law Firm Website, City Included Link to His Webpage -- Unethical Advertising, Sweetheart Relationship?

Law firm had exclusive link on City of St. Augustine Beach website, and used City's logo in advertising on its website. St. Augustine Beach City Attorney DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT, a Republican, owns "St. Johns Law Group," a law firm that also represents developers, including 7-Eleven and the young businessmen who wanted a hot air balloon in St. Augustine's historic area. DOUGLAS NELSON BURNETT is the son of the former overbearing top dog, or [Adjutant General][corrected] of the Florida National Guard, DOUGLAS BURNETT, headquartered in St. Augustine. Last year, Governor RICHARD LYNN SCOTT embedded General DOUGLAS BURNETT as a Board member our ST. JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT GROUP. Tallahassee trickery? Florida Ethics Commission takes no action on Tom Reynolds' ethics complaint. Republicans covering up for Republicans -- it's the Flori-DUH way, right?

Ethics violation complaints dismissed for St Augustine Beach officials
Posted: June 10, 2015 - 11:45pm
The State of Florida Commission on Ethics recently dismissed three complaints against three city of St. Augustine Beach officials.

St. Augustine Beach resident Tom Reynolds filed the complaints in December against Douglas N. Burnett, city attorney, City Manager Max Royle and Mayor Andrea Samuels.

All three complaints alleged that the officials misused their positions. The commission found Wednesday that no probable cause existed for Reynolds’ complaints.

Whenever someone files a complaint against an official alleging a violation of the state ethics code, the commission orders a preliminary investigation to see if probable cause exists that there was a violation, said Kerrie Stillman, spokeswoman for the State of Florida Commission on Ethics. If no probable cause exists, the matter is dismissed.

The complaints focused on how Burnett’s law firm was linked to the city’s website, and use of the city seal. The commission did not find probable cause to believe that Burnett used his position to advertise his law firm, according to a news release.

The city’s website used to include a link to his biography page on the webite for Burnett’s law firm, St. Johns Law Group. But that has been removed.

Burnett said he asked for the link to be removed, but not because it was wrong to have it there. There was no advertising going on, he said.

“Apparently someone wanted to make this some sort of political issue, and I’m not political,” Burnett said.

According to the documents, Burnett “advised that over the five years that he has served as the city attorney, there were a number of occasions where citizens commented that they did not know how to contact him concerning city business. As such, he contacted City Manager Max Royle in April 2014 and they decided to list his contact information on the city’s website.”

Reynolds also “alleged that Mr. Royle allowed the city attorney to use the city’s website for the benefits of private law firm,” according to the investigation. Also, Reynolds claimed that Samuels failed to stop Burnett from using the city’s website and the city’s emblem for his law firm’s benefit.

But, the commission determined, “no probable cause was found to believe that Max Royle, St. Augustine Beach City Manager, misused his position to allow the city attorney to use the city’s website to promote his private law firm.” Also, “Mayor Andrea Samuels was cleared of all allegations that she misused her position to allow the city attorney to use city resources for his personal benefit.”

Reynolds and Samuels could not be reached for comment. Royle declined to comment, citing city policy that prohibited him from doing so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Douglas Burnett is indeed the son of retired Major General Douglas Burnett. MajGen Burnett was the Adjutant General of the Florida National Guard, not the Commanding General. None of the 54 states and territories ith National Guard establishments, has a Commanding General at it head, while all have Commanding Generals as subordinate commanders. Please use precise terms precisely. Thank you