By Tim O’Meilia

Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn owner Pjeter Paloka filed complaints with the state ethics commission against two South Palm Beach Planning Board members in February and said he plans to file against a third.
Paloka alleged that Planning Board Chairman Michael Nevard and member Dee Robinson were biased against his family’s plans to replace the two-story hotel with a 10-story hotel-condominium and actively worked against the proposal while sitting as board members.
The complaint against Robinson, released by Paloka, claims Robinson “breached the public trust” and failed to disclose that she was “materially affected” by the proposed hotel, both violations of Florida law.
Robinson and board member Pat Festino’s mother live in the condominium just north of the planned hotel and Nevard lives west. Paloka suggested that the ocean views of all three would be partially blocked by the hotel, a fact they should have disclosed.
“The information is self-explanatory,” Paloka said. Allegations against Nevard and Festino, which has yet to be filed, are similar, he said.
Complaints to the ethics commission are confidential unless released by either the complainant or the accused. The commission’s investigation is secret until its conclusion.
Nevard declined to comment on the complaint other than to say he would respond to questions by the ethics commission investigators.
In June, the planning board recommended against land use changes that would have allowed the 99-unit luxury hotel and the Town Council rejected the changes in September. Paloka complained several times at later meetings about the three planning board members.
In November, the Town Council asked the ethics commission to review the planning board’s actions, but the commission declined to give an advisory opinion because the facts are in dispute.

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