Oi g 14017 Robb Final Report 110714

Jean Robb
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  BROWARD  OFFICE  OF THE INSPECTOR  GENERAL  MEMORANDUM To: Burgess Hanson, City  Manager, City   el Beach From: John  W. Scott,  In spector General ~t /  Date: November 7, 20 14 Subject: OIG Final Report Re:  Misconduct  by Deerfield Beach Mayor Jean Robb Ref. 0 G 14-017  Attached please find the final report of the Bro ward Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding the above-captioned  matter. The OIG investigation found that C ity  of Deerfield Beach (City) Mayor Jean Robb misu sed h er elected positi on by attempting to ob st ruct the  City s code enforcement efforts involving a luxury automobile dealership w hose owner had made charitable donations. Specifically, Mayor Robb told a Broward Sheriffs Office Deputy who was the   City s code enforcement officer that I wa nt you  to leav e [the deale rship] alone. He just gave me two $500 checks.   The  investigation a bo uncovered other instan ces  of  miscon duct by Mayor Robb, to wit: ( I)  using her pos ition to  obtain benefits for h er church and pastor by directing C ity st aff  to issu e an  emp loy ee  parking sticker to the pastor, an d to use C ity employees and equipm ent to clean the church s parking lot; (2) attempting to block the City from awarding a contract to a vendor she personally disfavored; ( 3) unilaterally committing the C ity to pay for transportation for a Little League baseball team, in c ircumvention of procedures that req uired the participation and approval of  City em ployees; and ( 4) attempting to perso nally direct th e duties of the C ity P urchasing Manage r. In furt heranc e of  h er aim s Mayor Robb re peatedly personally directed and a ttempted to personall  y direc t the duties  of City em ployees-and committed C i ty resources in so doi ng-without the requi site kn owledge or  authori za ti on  of  the City Manager, as plain ly required by  the  City  s charter and code.  The OIG  inves ti ga tion estab li shed probable cause to be li eve that Mayor Robb engaged in  acts of  ethical mi scon duc t. The OIG wi  ll be refening  thi s matte r to the Florida  Commission on Ethics, a nd the City, fo r their independent assessment of  the application of state and lo cal eth ic s laws. Attachment cc: Ma yor and  Members, De e rfield Beach City C ommis sion Honorable Chip LaMarca, Member, B roward Boa rd of  County Co m mi ssioners John W. Sco tt, nspecto r Ge neral On e North U ni ve rs it y Dri ve, Suite I   ll ã Plan tat ion, Fl orida 33324 ã (9 54 357-7873 ã 1ax (954)  357- 7X57  \\ \\ \\ ã (954) 3 57-T IPS      BROWARD OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL   FINAL REPORT   =========================================================== OIG 14-017   November 7, 2014    Misconduct by Deerfield Beach Mayor Jean Robb    B ROWARD O FFICE OF THE I NSPECTOR G ENERAL   F INAL R EPORT R E :  M   ISCONDUCT BY  D  EERFIELD  B  EACH  M   AYOR  J   EAN  R OBB SUMMARY In May 2014, the Broward Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began an investigation based on allegations that City of Deerfield Beach (City) Mayor Jean Robb misused her elected position. The OIG had received allegations that Mayor Robb, in her official capacity, improperly solicited two charitable donations made by the owner (Owner) of a local luxury automobile dealership. Although the OIG investigation did not substantiate those particular allegations, we determined that after the Owner made the charitable donations, the Mayor used her position to attempt to obstruct the City’s code enforcement efforts involving the dealership. Specifically, Mayor Robb told a Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy who was the City’s code enforcement officer that “I want you to leave [the dealership] alone. He just gave me two $500 checks.” The investigation also uncovered other instances of misconduct by Mayor Robb, to wit: (1) using her position to obtain benefits for her church and pastor by directing City staff to issue an employee parking sticker to the pastor, and to use City employees and equipment to clean the church’s parking lot; (2) attempting to block the City from awarding a contract to a vendor she  personally disfavored; (3) unilaterally committing the City to pay for transportation for a Little League baseball team, in circumvention of procedures that required the participation and approval of City em ployees; and (4) attempting to personally direct the duties of the City Purchasing Manager. 1  In furtherance of her aims, Mayor Robb repeatedly personally directed and attempted to personally direct the duties of City employees—and committed City resources in so doing— without the requisite knowledge or authorization of the City Manager, as plainly required by the City’s charter and code. The OIG also received allegations that Mayor Robb accepted a gift valued at over $50 and misappropriated gifts given to the City, but those allegations were not substantiated by the investigation. In addition, the OIG received allegations that Mayor Robb violated Florida’s “Sunshine” laws by attempting to block residents’ emails and by using her personal email address to communicate with City staff, but those allegations were unfounded. The OIG investigation established probable cause to believe that Mayor Robb engaged in acts of ethical misconduct. The OIG will be referring this matter to the Florida Commission on Ethics, and the City, for their independent assessment of the application of state and local ethics laws. 1 Section 12.01(A)(2) of the Charter of Broward County (Charter) defines misconduct to include any violation of any state statute or code, any violation of any county or municipal ordinance or code, or conduct involving corruption or abuse. OIG 14-017   November 7, 2014   Page 1 of 22      B ROWARD O FFICE OF THE I NSPECTOR G ENERAL F INAL R EPORT R E :  M   ISCONDUCT BY C   ITY OF  D  EERFIELD  B  EACH  M   AYOR  J   EAN  R OBB OIG CHARTER AUTHORITY Section 12.01 of the Charter of Broward County empowers the Broward Office of the Inspector General to investigate misconduct and gross mismanagement within the Charter Government of Broward County and all of its municipalities. This authority extends to all elected and appointed officials, employees and all providers of goods and services to the County and the municipalities. On his own initiative, or based on a signed complaint, the Inspector General shall commence an investigation upon a finding of good cause. As part of any investigation, the Inspector General shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, require the production of documents and records, and audit any program, contract, and the operations of any division of the County, its municipalities and any providers. The Broward Office of the Inspector General is also empowered to issue reports, including recommendations, and to require officials to provide reports regarding the implementation of those recommendations. THE INDIVIDUAL COVERED IN THIS REPORT  Mayor Jean Robb Mayor Robb has been a resident of Deerfield Beach for 53 years. She first served as mayor from 1980 through 1993 and was elected again in March 2013 for a four-year term. The Mayor certified that she took eight hours of ethics training in 2013 and filed a certificate of attendance for another eight hours in 2014. RELEVANT GOVERNING AND ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES The Solicitation of Charitable Contributions The Code of Ordinances of Broward County, Code of Ethics for Elected Officials (Broward Ethics Code) prescribes the manner in which Broward municipal elected officials may solicit and receive charitable contributions. The Broward Ethics Code states that: Sec. 1-19(c)(5) Solicitation and Receipt of Contributions. a.   Charitable Contribution Fundraising. 1.   The solicitation of funds by an Elected Official for a nonprofit charitable organization, as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, is permissible so long as there is no quid  pro quo or other special consideration, including any direct or indirect benefit between the parties to the solicitation. 2.   To promote the full and complete transparency of any such solicitation, an Elected Official shall disclose, on a form created by the Broward County Attorney's Office, the OIG 14-017   November 7, 2014   Page 2 of 22  
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