By Mary Thurwachter

Mayor David Stewart says he will continue to fight the ethics complaint filed against him in January by Lantana resident Catherine Padilla.
7960825859?profile=originalIn October, the Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause that Stewart misused his position to attempt to obtain a sexual benefit for himself. Probable cause also was found to believe he solicited sex from a constituent based on an understanding his vote, official action or judgment would be influenced.
While not a determination that Stewart violated ethics law, the probable cause determination finds that there is enough evidence of a violation to allow the investigation to proceed to a full evidentiary hearing.
Stewart says he will have an evidentiary hearing (before the Division of Administrative Hearings), likely sometime in the next three months.
While he declined further comment, Stewart has consistently maintained that Padilla’s accusations were totally false and that he has never asked for, or accepted, anything in exchange for a vote.
Another option for Stewart, who has been mayor for 19 years, would have been agreeing to a settlement, the terms of which would be decided by the commission’s advocate and Stewart and his legal representative.
Padilla, 54, filed the ethics complaint in January. She claims she and Stewart, 65, had become friends when both attended meetings of the Hypoluxo-Lantana Kiwanis Club.
According to Padilla, their relationship took an objectionable turn in 2015, when, after a morning Kiwanis meeting, the two had lunch, after which he drove her to a motel and propositioned her for sex. Padilla said she “wasn’t interested” and that Stewart drove her back to her car.
She said Stewart called her a week or two later and said he would guarantee her street would get speed tables, a safety measure for which she had lobbied, if she would have sex with him at the motel.
In August 2015, the Town Council voted in favor of the traffic-calming speed humps for Padilla’s street. Another unanimous vote to approve the speed humps came this year on Sept. 24.
Padilla filed an amendment to her first complaint on Jan. 11, when the mayor came to her house to talk to her about the complaint and she called police.
Stewart, according to the police report, told officers he had learned of the ethics complaint filed with the state and had gone to Padilla’s house to talk with her about it.
Padilla, according to the police report, said that when she opened the door and saw Stewart, she shut it, locked it and took a photo of Stewart in his car before he left. The two never spoke during the incident, both told police.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Activity Feed

The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 13
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Jun 5
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 5
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in SOUTH PALM BEACH
Jun 1
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Jun 1
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 30
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BEACH WATCH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
May 29
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
May 29
More…