Good article by Colleen Michele Jones in the St. Augustine Record on corrupt St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner ERNESTO JUAN TORRES' pestilential lobbying of SABPD Chief Daniel Carwell and Sheriff Robert Hardwick after TORRES' wife was arrested for DUI.
Disgraced former Florida National Guard Lt. Colonel TORRES is a martinet who formerly chaired the St. Augustine Beach City Code Enforcement Board.
A radical Trump-loving termagant, Dull Republican ERNESTO JUAN TORRES will not be missed.
Good riddance to a bad actor.
TORRES was a Tinpot Napoleon tyrant, who made some 20 calls for assistance to SABPD, 2013-2020, mostly to complain about neighbors playing music.
From St. Augustine Record:
St. Augustine Beach police chief: Ernesto Torres called him 29 times after wife's arrest
Colleen Michele Jones
St. Augustine Record
February 2, 2022
More details have emerged regarding the DUI arrest of Ernesto Torres' wife, Nicole, which prompted the St. Augustine Beach Commissioner to resign Monday amid allegations of unethical behavior.
The Record obtained a copy of correspondence between St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Daniel Carswell and Lex Taylor, the city's attorney, about the Jan. 22 incident in which Torres is accused of trying to use his elected position to gain favor with local officers.
The letter, dated Jan. 25, details how Torres called Carswell 29 times following the arrest through the early morning hours of Jan. 23 to intervene on his wife's behalf.
SABPD Commander Travis Harrell received another 18 calls from Torres, documents show.
According to Carswell's letter: "Commissioner Torres began to tell me, 'Chief, I'm sorry' repeatedly. … I asked Commissioner Torres what happened and he stated that he thought she may have had too much to drink. He then began to say, 'Come on Chief, please' and 'Dan, please' over and over to me."
Carswell continues to write: "I told Commissioner Torres that he was putting me in a difficult position and that I was losing respect for him. I told him that if I 'helped' him it would be unethical, that I could lose my job, and I would lose all respect and credibility from my agency."
Vote of no confidence
Carswell's letter to Taylor also included a decided vote of no confidence from the police department to Torres if he remained on the commission.
Carswell's letter to Taylor indicates: "I personally do not feel comfortable with his personal views of the police department while overseeing critical agency matters on the commission and being a direct supervisor of the chief of police. I am greatly concerned about future matters involving the police department coming before the commission. I am also concerned with how this incident could affect the police department personnel."
Torres, who was just a year into the four-year term, resigned Monday morning, saying he wanted to spend more time with family.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the City of St. Augustine thanked Torres for the job he had done for the city and wished him well.
St. Augustine Beach officials send complaint to Florida Commission on Ethics
Torres, 52, is still facing a potential ethics investigation by the state.
City officials have submitted a complaint to the Florida Commission on Ethics in Tallahassee and, according to Lynn Blais, a spokeswoman with the agency, even elected officials who have resigned are subject to review and disciplinary action. Those penalties could range from public censure to a fine of up to $10,000 per allegation, she said.
The city's attorney, Taylor, did not return The Record's calls.
St. Augustine Beach Mayor Don Samora said in a phone interview Tuesday, "He [Torres] did the right thing by resigning, and now we'll go forward in filling the position."
Samora said the commission would begin a conversation about that process at its next meeting on Monday.
Commissioner Undine George agreed that Torres' stepping down was the best course of action and that public officials should always be held accountable for their behavior.
"We need a good system of checks and balances, and all [municipal] officials, department heads and employees have the duty to out any wrongdoing," Undine said.
Fellow commissioner Margaret England responded by text to The Record with this statement: "Commissioner Torres has been on the City of St. Augustine Commission for a little over a year and has served well. I am sorry this unfortunate incident has precipitated his resignation, and I wish him and his family well."
Commissioner Dylan Rumrell did not immediately return calls to The Record.