Politics | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

A New Call for More Transparency in City Government

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

July 11, 2012 -5:30 -

There's a new call for more transparency in city government today. A candidate for seat one on the Tallahassee City Commission announced his idea while one of his opponents watched.

"The citizens are missing the opportunity to view their public officials records", 18 year old city commission candidate Delaitre Hollinger said.

Hollinger says if he's elected, he'd push for a public access website for Tallahassee records.

"Financial disclosure forms are probably one of the most important forms that we're needed to put on line", Hollinger said.

In his announcement about his news conference, it said Hollinger would respond to the recent controversy involving the land deals one of his opponents Scott Maddox.

In an unusual twist, Maddox showed up at Hollinger's news conference. And Hollinger never said anything about Maddox's land deals while Maddox was mayor in the 90s until we asked.

"I believe that there are more pertinent issues that we should be focusing on as candidates in this race than worry about something that happened over a decade ago", Hollinger said.

"It took a young man to say nothing was done wrong and why don't we stick to the issues. That's refreshing", said Maddox.

And it was all smiles as Hollinger and Maddox took pictures together after the news conference.

We first asked Maddox to go on camera about his land deals in May. Nearly a month after our stories aired in June, he agreed.

"I didn't vote on any property I had ownership in. One year's disclosure form had a mistake on it", Maddox said.

As WCTV first reported in June, that form was for 1998. On the form under "real property owned", a note says owned as of August, 1999. However the instructions specifically say to fill out the form for the calendar year listed.

Records show Maddox's company, Spectrum Resources, owned property in 1998 near where the Apalachee Parkway Super Wal-Mart was built. But it's not listed on that form.

Records show Spectrum sold property at the Centre Poin development in 1999. It's not listed on any year's form.

Also, the 1999 form wasn't filed until January, 2002.

"We're trying to guess what happened 15 years ago, it's difficult to go back and do", Maddox said.

It says on the forms, under Florida law, failure to make any required disclosure can result in a range of penalties including removal from office and up to a $10,000 fine.

We asked Maddox if he intentionally didn't file his disclosure forms properly and he said no.

A third candidate for seat one on the city commission, Steve Stewart, also showed up at Hollinger's news conference right after it was over.

Stewart points out he unveiled his own plan for openness in city government some time ago.


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