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.
“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.