By Mary Thurwachter

The Florida Commission on Ethics in June dismissed one of two complaints filed by Lantana resident Catherine Padilla against Mayor David Stewart.
7960798490?profile=originalThe complaint, filed on March 27, accused Stewart of using sexual innuendo during a Kiwanis Club dinner at the Whistle Stop Lounge on Oct. 24. Town Manager Deborah Manzo was also in attendance.
Padilla claimed she heard Manzo say she wasn’t happy with her choice of entrees and that Stewart remarked, “You haven’t tried my meat yet.”
According to a news release from the Ethics Commission, the complaint was dismissed “due to a lack of legal sufficiency.”
The commission said that the only provision of the Code of Ethics that could have applied in this circumstance was misuse of public position. However, the commission maintained that Padilla’s allegation failed to show in a “factual, specific manner” that the alleged conduct was for the “purpose of securing a special private capacity benefit for the respondent or anyone else.”
For that reason, the complaint was dismissed without investigation.
“I’m surprised because there were witnesses,” Padilla said when she learned of the complaint’s dismissal. “I have a lot of support from residents and officials.”
Stewart declined comment. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time until all the investigation is complete,” he said.
Padilla filed another complaint earlier in the year, on Jan. 2, and the Ethics Commission has not ruled on it.
That one accused Stewart of saying that if she had sex with him, he would make sure her neighborhood would get the speed bumps she had asked the town to install for safety reasons.
After the state notified the mayor of that first complaint, he went to her home to talk about the complaint, according to a statement Stewart gave to the Lantana Police Department. Padilla didn’t let him in and called the police. They reported the visit as a “suspicious incident.” Ú

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