FL Ethics Commission Determination Result of Complaint Filed Against Judge Richards

IN THE

CIRCUIT

COURT OF THE TWENTIETH

JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR CHARLOTIE

COUNTY, FWRlDA

CIVJLACTiON UNKNOWN PURPORTED PLAINTIFF,

Purported Plaintiff
CASE

NO.: 08-000252-CA

vs.
RONALD

P GILLIS, et al, Purported Defendant
NOTICE OF FlUNG
M

JUDGE GEORGE

C

RICHARDS

ADl'tIlSSION OF WRONGDOING FILED BY PllBPORU;D

TO FlORIDA

ETHICS

COMMISSION BASED

UPON COMPLAINT

DEfENDANT IN THIS CASE

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, the Purported Defendant Ronald P. Gillis in the above mentioned case, files the admission of Judge George C Richards of wrongdoing in Ethics Commission filings. This admission was in response to the complaint filed by the Purported Defendant Ronald P Gillis in this case.
CERTIFICATE SERVICE

OF

I HEREBYERTIFY by signing this below, a true and correct copy of the foregoing Notice of C that Filing was or will immediately be furnished by USPS 1st Class Mail or hand delivered to all other parties to this case on February 21, 2012 listed below: I) Albertelli Law 2) Chief Circuit Judge Jay B Rosman

Andrew Fivecoat 600 North Westshore Blvd, Suite 400 Tampa, FL 33609

Lee County Justice Center 1700 Monroe 8t Fort Myers, FL 3901

Ronald Gillis PO Box 380842

1j 'j, i NrlOJ 3.dO liNH) HinD:) Iln,:)IJIJ .:10~~J3i': 110:)5 1 V/J'18I:!V8 .

~:oz;;:_
Ronald Gillis
A II Ri ghts Reserved

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42PW;V h~~~\/~~'~HI;~l~)~ .it"f~Nt r_~UI\
BARBARA T
1,\1

CourL

By

_

__

' 'Dutv Clerk

BEFORE THE

DATE FILED
NOV 28 2011)
COMMISSION ON E1}ffCS

STATE OF FLORIDA
COMMISSION ON ETHICS

In re GEORGE CHARLES RICHARDS, Respondent.

)
)

('f')tdr:tnCN'" ! ' ·.,.P,..... J r H d .... ••
Complaint No. 11-138

TIAL t
I

)

DETERMlNA nON OF INVESTIGATIVE JURISDI~TION AND ORDER TO INVESTIGATE UPON REVIEW of this complaint, I find as follows: 1. 2. This complaint was filed by Ronald Gillis of Murdock. Florida. The Respondent, George Charles Richards, allegedly
served as Assistant

Statewide Prosecutor from 2006 to 2008, and allegedly currently serves as a Circuit Judge in and for the 20th Judicial Circuit. 3. The complaint 'alleges that the Respondent, while sdvihg as Assistant Statewide
I

Prosecutor, failed to list all reportable liabilities of Respondent on h~s 1006, 2007, and 2008, CE
!

i

Form I, Statement of Financial Interests.

4. Statutes.

This allegation

indicates

a possible violation

of Section
i

112.3145. Florida

5.

The complaint also alleges that Respondent failed ito! accurately complete CE
j
j •

!

.

Fonn 6 Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests he filed while-serving as a Circuit Court Judge. The Commission on Ethics has no jurisdiction with respeci , tG these allegations, as the .
I

Judicial Qualifications Commission has the sole authority to discipU+e ~udges.l
I '

I

While the Commission on Ethics has jurisdiction over candi~te~ seeking elective office, Respondent was appointed, not elected, to the position of Circuit Ju~c;.in August 2009.
I ;

IMAGING MEMO THE WRITING/T'(PING & PRINTING WAS UNSAtiSFACTORY FOR REPRODUC;T10N AT THE TIME OF~IMAGING

WHEREFORE staff of the Commission on Ethics shall conduct a this complaint for a probable cause determination Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, as set forth above. of whether tb espondent has violated

Date

Virlindia Doss

Executive Director
VAD/WLRlmwf

2

IMAGIN MEMO THE WRITING/TY ING & PRINTING WAS UNSATIS ACTORY FOR REPRODLJCTI AT THE TIME OF 1M GING

R!EPORT

OF
INVESTIGATI
rE OF FLORI

N

Complatnt Number 11..138

NOTIa

CONCERNING CONFtOE:NTIALrrY

This report of InWld.at!on conc.rn$ an an,...d violation of ChilPtI!'r 112, Part ItI, Florida Statum, or other bre.ch of public: undttr provisions of II, Section 8, Florida Constitution. Th .. Report and any ~htbits may '- conOd.ntlal from the public records law) pursuant to Section 112.324, florida Statut.s, and 3+5, , .A.C.• th. rules of th. Commission on Ethles. uhl..,. the- Respondtnt has confidentiality In wrtt!n •• this ,...port will r.rnaln co~ldenttai until on. of the oc:curs: (1) the complaint Is dlsmisJeod by the Comm*slon; (2) the Commfsslon suf~t evtct.nc. to orde-r il public hearina; or (3) the Commission orders a public: .s ,. final disposition of tht matter.

""LISt

EMO & PRINTING FOR
AT THE TIME

NO

Post ce Drawer 15709 TaUahlS58 , Florida 32317-5709

COM ISSION ON ETHICS

sr

TE OF FLORIDA

TinE:

GEO GE C. RICHARDS CUrr nt Circuit Court Judae

Form r Assistant Stawwide Pr secutor
20th udlclal Circuit

Char tte County, Florida COMPLAINT NO.:

INVESTIGATED BY:

Distribution:

Releasfng Authority:

Dllte

""""

IMAGI G MEMO THE WRITINGIT PING & PRINTING WAS UNSATI FACTORY FOR

REPRODUCT

N AT THE TIME

OF I AGING

REPO CO

OF INVESTIGATION PLAINT NO. 11~138

(1) The Complaint in this matter as filed by Ronald Gillis of urdock, who alleges that George C. Richards. while serving as Assistant Statewide Prose utor, violated the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Emplo ing as an Assistant Stat 'de Prosecutor from 2006 through 2008, Judge Richards failed to list all reportable liabiliti s on his 2006, 2007, and 2008 CE Fonn Is, "Statement ofFina cial Interests."
(2)

Mr. Gillis alleges that while

(3) The Executive Director of t e Commission on Ethies ted that based upon the information provided in the complain the allegations were sufficie t to warrant a preliminary investigation to determine whether the Respondent's actions lated Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes (Disclosure ofFinanc a1 Interests). (4) Mr. Gillis alleges that Judg 200', and 2008 CE Form Is filed wh Florida's Twentieth Judicial Circuit i Judge Richards' 2009 and 2010 C Interests, ~ which he was required to which be lists his home mortgage in that when he researched public ree home in November 2004 for $196,5 "SunTrust for $157,200 and $19,650, Richard! failed to list cert n liabilities on his 2006, Ie was serving as an Assist t Statewide Prosecutor in 2006 through 2008. Mr. Gi lis based his allegation on Form 65, "Full and Publi Disclosure of Financial mplete when be was appoi cd as a judge in 2009, in Part C - Liabilities" of each form. Mr. Gillis reported ds, he discovered that Jud Richards purchased his and it appears that he two mortgages with to purchase the house. udge Richards chose the crests. According to the is using the "Dollar Value the name and address of ted for a liability in any 10,000. Credit card and written sworn statement, not disclose on his 2006, he read in "Part C - Real ion homes, nor are you nderstanding that he was liability. He wrote, "My estment or other building nderstsading of this was

(5) As reflected on his 2006, 2 07, and 2008 CE Form Is, "Dollar Value Thresholds" manner t calculate his reportable in instructions for the CE Form 1 "Part - Liabilities," if the reporter Thresholds" to calculate reportable i terests, the reporter must li each private or governmental credit r to whom they were inde amount that, at any time during the isclosure period, exceeded retail installment accounts are not req ired to be disclosed. (6) Judge Richards. through a t ephone conversation and a acknowledged that he has two mortg ges on his home that he did 2007, and 2008 CE Fonn 1s. Judge chards explained that becau Property," that he was not required to list "residences and va required to state the value of the pro on the form, " it was his also not required to disclose the rna gages of his residence as understanding of this section was that I was to report any rental, in that I owned, none of which I hav ," He continued, "If my incorrect, I will gladly submit an arne dment." END OF REPORT 0 PRELIMINARY JNVES

1 IMAGING EMO THE WRITINGITYP NG & PRINTING WAS UNSATISF CrORY FOR

REPRODUCTIO AT THE TIME OF IMA ING

~'j!~~~iSS~lmucs 00 , ..... "I:II" ll"h
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•• ,. 1.

·\.r.l\lrv ~
I

ft

F£814101~

I. re GEORGE CHARLES RICHARD

I

Respondent. __________________________ ~I
STIPULA nON AND AGREE

//-IJ r o.9§...09V'-

MMENDED ORDE ate for the Commission commended order with led with the Florida Com ission on Ethics. This

The Respondent, George Charles
on Ethics enter into this stipulation and respect to the above-styled complaint

stipulation and agreement, subject to app val by the Commission on

of further proceedings and hearings in
recommended order are as follows:

t

ts cause. The stipulated an

ATEDFACTS

1.

At all times material to

e complaint, the Responde

t

was a "specified state

employee," as that term is defined in S Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, 2. The sworn complaint was filed with the Florida Com

s, being employed as an

ission on Ethics alleging

that the Respondent, while serving as Ethics for Public Officers and Employees

Assistant Statewide Prosec tor, violated the Code of

3.

The Executive Director o

ound the complaint to be investigation of the co plaint as to whether the Florida Statutes. The Re
rt

legally sufficient and ordered a preJimi Respondent violated Section 112.3145

of Investigation

was

released on January 13,2012.
IMAGING MEM )

THE WRITINGfTYPING PRINTING WAS UNSATISFACT Y FOR REPRODUCT10N AT HE TIME
OF lMAG1N

4.

The allegation of the com laint determined to be legal

sufficient was that the

Respondent failed to list his home mortga e on his 2006. 2007. and 20 8 CE Form Is, under the Part E - Liabilities . .5. The Respondent admits th facts set forth in the Report (Investigation, which is

incorporated herein by reference.

The R spondent acknowledges that he has had for all times on his home, which he di not disclose on his CE ears (2009 & 2010) the

pertinent to this complaint two mortgag

Form 1 for the years 2006, 2007, and 2 08. For the following two Respondent has disclosed his home mortg ge on CE Form 6.

7.

The Respondent is subjee to the provisions of Part

It, Chapter 112, Florida
iele II. Section 8, Florida

Statutes, tbe Code of Ethies for Public 0 icers and Employees, and Consti tution. 8. The Commission on Ethi s has jurisdiction

over th complaint

filed in this

proceeding and over the Respondent.
9.

The Respondent admits t

aph 5 of this stipulation

and agreement. establish a violation of S 8, Florida Constitution.

s, and Article II, Section

10.

The Special Advocate for he Commission on Ethics arid

d the Respondent having Commission accept the

entered into to this stipulation

Respondent's admission in this proceed in .
II. The Special Advocate and the Respondent request that e Commission on Ethics

accept and approve this stipulation and a reement in lieu of further pr ceedings and bearings in this cause, and enter a Final Order an PubJic Report finding thai the Respondent violated
IMAGING THE WRITING/TYPJ WAS UNSATISFA REPRODUCTION OF IMAG EMO G & PRINTING TORY FOR T THE TIME G

Section 112.3 J 45, Florida

Statutes, an

Article II, Section 8, F orida Constitution,

and

recommending a civil penalty ofS900.00. FURTH RSTIPULATIONS 12, The Respondent stipulates that' he has voluntarily sub itted this stipulation of 1 knowledge and understandi g of its contents and that

fact,law, and recommended order with

if accepted by the Commission on Ethics he will accept and comply
Final Order and Public Report. 6.
The Respondent

ith the above-referenced

agrees to

Ie an Amendment to Form 1 (Form 1X) to disclose
51

the borne mortgage for the years 2006, 20 7, and 2008, as part of this
13.

ulation and agreement.

The Respondent has entere

into this stipulation and a cement with the Special y the Commission on Ethic subject to the following s written, this document y the Respondent. ent by the Commission ments and entitlements.

Advocate for consideration and approval condition: In the event the stipulation an shall be of no purpose and effect and shall 14. Effective upon acceptance

on Ethics, the Respondent waives all time notice, hearing rights, requl as to all subsequent hearings in this procee ing.

By his Signature hereto, tbe Respo dent waives any and all conf entiality with respect to these proceedings.

_
I

IMAGIN

MEMO

H~ WRITING/TY ING & PRINTING WAS UNSATIS ACTORY FOR
REPRODUCTI N AT THE TJME

OF 1M GING

Robert

J. Sairrtn

Vlrllndla

Doss

CIt.1r
Sw;aD Horovitz Muter

Euc,"1w D/~ol C. Christopher Anderson, III GIJUrfIl CmllluJ/ IJqJuty Execlltivt!
DinctOl

MOI"J.n R. Belltley
I. Mlrtin Ford Jean M. Lane. Linda McKee Robiso.

VkeCh.lr

State

or Florida

Edwin Salin IJJ

COIMllrfISSI(JIN ON ETHICS .0. Dnwer 1.5709 llmee, FL 32317-5709

lay Blvd., Soulh, Suite 201
Uah.sHe, FL 32311

(850) 488-7864 Phone (8~O) 488-3077 (FAX) www.etb ics.stale.n.uli

15,2012 Mr. Ronald Gillis PO Box 380842 Murdock, FL 33938

Dear Mr. Oillis: This is to notify you that the Commission Ethics will meet on friday, of'taking final action in the above-captioned Recommended Order, a copy of which is enclosed any written response you wish to tile will be ....... .",..., "

Please note that the probable cause bea However, should tbe eommissioD reject the probable cause hearing at the Marcil The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m., in Street, Tallahassee. Florida. If you plan to meeting.

set for Friday March proposed stipulatioD, we 1011 meetiDg.

20ll,

will Dot take place. lmntecliatcly proeeed with

~~"'>ft'.'~" uditorium, 605 Suwanee A least two days prior 10 the

Please do not hesitate to contact the concerning this matter.

Atlvru~1El

if you have any questions

S~iC'Y'i~
{i~wling
Enclosure cc: Mr. George C. Richards 350 li. Marion Ave. Punta Gorda, FL 33950 Complaint Coordinator

~
IMAGIN MEMO THE WRITI ING & PRINTING WAS UNSATIS DRY FOR REPRODUCTI AT THE TIME OF 1M GING

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IMAGING MEMO THE WRITING/TYPING s PRINTj\l( WAS UNSATISFACTORY f'(j:;> REPRODUCTION l<r THE i IMf:: OF ,IMAGING

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