Ethics Complaints Against Tallahassee City Commissioner Ziffer, Mayor Marks

By: Jennifer Milton/Tallahassee Reports Email
By: Jennifer Milton/Tallahassee Reports Email

Updated 5:45pm by Jennifer Milton:

"When they violate laws like this, it is absolutely unethical and they violated the trust of the public and it should be exposed," said Tim Haifley.

City of Tallahassee Utilities customer Tim Haifly has filed ethics complaints against Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, alleging they violated Florida statute 112.313 7 A, which prohibits a public officer from hiring a person or agency that is employed by the city.

Neither Mayor Marks or Commissioner Ziffer have seen the complaint and they are unable to comment on the issue until the Florida Commission on Ethics completes a formal investigation.

Ziffer acknowledged that he knew Vancore Jones Communications was working for the city at the time he hired the firm. He also said, "To my knowledge, I have not broken any ethical law."

Sean Pittman with the Pittman Law Group says he was hired to work on the Mayor's campaign in 2003 which was before the firm was hired to work as a state lobbyist for the city. However, Pittman also says, he has remained as a consultant on the Mayor's campaign after the city hired him in 2005. A spokesperson for Mayor Marks was not able confirm or deny this information.

The spokesman for the Mayor did say, "The charges appear to be politically motivated, and we expect the Florida Ethics Commission to rule them as baseless and without merit."

Kerrie Spillman with the Florida Commission on Ethics says generally speaking, possible penalties range from a public reprimand, to removal from office.

The most common penalty is a civil penalty, where the commission can recommend up to 10 thousand dollars per violation--but we want to reiterate, as of now, neither man has been cited for any wrongdoing.
Tallahassee, Florida -- March 15, 2011 - 11am --

Ethics complaints have been filed against Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer and Mayor John Marks.

Those complaints have been attached in PDF format above.

Stay with WCTV for details later today.

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