Taxpayer files complaint against commissioner

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Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:31 pm

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- The State Ethics Board is deciding if a Sarasota County taxpayer has merit to her complaint against a Commissioner.

Adrien Lucas is an event planner and she didn't like Commissioner Joe Barbetta's wife, who is also an event planner, was able to work on events at a county owned park.

"They might consider it nickels and dimes, but I think to about 135 local event planners that I found locally on LinkedIn, I think if they had been qualified, they would have been very interested in having the potential to bid for those even jobs," Lucas said.

Lucas also thinks Barbetta should have recused himself from certain votes, and for that reason she filed a complaint with the state ethics board.

Commissioner Barbetta told ABC 7 recently he'll let the process take it's course and he feels confident he'll be cleared.

Sarasota attorney and government watchdog Dan Lobeck is glad to see a taxpayer not afraid to ask questions.

"Adrien Lucas is to be congratulated for having the courage to do that," Lobeck said.

As for Lucas, she says the process of filing a state ethics complaint is difficult.

"Not an easy ting to wade through for an average citizen who believes they're filing a legitimate complaint," she said.

Whether or not it's a legitimate complaint is up to the State Ethics Board in Tallahassee.  A decision may come next week.

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