AVON PARK - After having the complaint against him twice dismissed, a hearing has been set to decide whether Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon can recoup attorneys fees in his defense against alleged ethics violations.
Florida's Division of Administrative Hearings in Tallahassee has set 9 a.m., March 11 to 13 in the Avon Park City Council Chambers for the hearing. During that time, an administrative law judge will decide whether Deleon will get back the approximately $8,000 Deleon paid Tallahassee attorneys Albert Gimbel and Mark Herron to defend him.
Sept. 23, the city council voted to pay for Deleon's legal fees in defense of Councilman Garrett Anderson's ethics violation claims, However, since the complaints were dropped, Anderson, who brought up the allegations, could be responsible for repaying Deleon.
Anderson originally filed the complaint with State of Florida Commission on Ethics March 8, 2013, alleging after his election to city council, Deleon threatened him, saying if he interfered with Deleon's personal business that "he would cause serious ramifications for my personal business," Anderson wrote in a March 7 letter to the commission, referring to his ammunition manufacturing company, Anderson Arms.
Anderson wrote that Deleon "alleged that I was dealing in illegal activity and should be shut down immediately."
Deleon said Friday that he felt their were underlying implications relating to Anderson's campaign for a spot on city council that caused Anderson to originally file the complaints.
Anderson, who has served on the council since Nov. 6, 2013, said Friday he's been surprised how far Deleon has taken the issue, He said he'd like "everything to run smoothly" and wants "what's good for everybody. He said he's ready to comply and pay if that's the verdict.
He said the issue wouldn't affect their city manager-councilman relationship.
"It says a lot about a person to take it this far. That's just how he wants to do it. It's up to him," he said. "I don't personally hold anything against him. He's doing what he feels he needs to do."
In a September email statement to the press, Deleon wrote he would "return any recuperated funds back to the city" if the ethics violations charges were dismissed.