Carl Callahan, Bradenton’s city administrator, was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Florida Commission on Ethics at a Jan. 27 hearing in Tallahassee. The information became public on Wednesday.
Local resident and activist Barbara Elliott filed a litany of complaints against Callahan after her group, Stone Soup Community Unity, failed to stop the city from relocating Glazier-Gates Park in favor of a new housing development.
Elliott filed several complaints last year. All but one were summarily dismissed as having no bearing on whether a law was broken. The only complaint investigated was an allegation that Callahan had ownership in Atlas Pen & Pencils, a company from which the city sometimes purchases items for the city-owned golf course.
It took the ethics commission about three minutes to dismiss the complaint after an investigator determined Callahan has no ties to the business.
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“I have no problem with the process,” Callahan said. “I have the utmost respect for the commission, and it’s a necessary process for citizens to be able to file a complaint. The unfortunate part is that everything is supposed to be confidential unless either side wants to make it public, and for whatever reason (Elliott) chose to make it public when I knew there was nothing to her claims.”
Elliott has a long history of filing ethics complaints against public officials, acknowledging that she has filed at least 75 over the 25 years.
“The Florida State Ethics Commission is useless,” Elliott said.