Florida ethics commission finds probable cause that Broward Sheriff Tony ‘lied, misused’ position

The Florida Commission on Ethics said Wednesday it has found probable cause to believe Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony “misused his public position” when he lied to get his first job at the Coral Springs Police Department.

The end result could lead to termination.

A state panel made up of three members met Tuesday to review the cases of 80 police and correctional officers whose cases of “moral character” were considered on that list, which included Tony.

Officials said Tony provided false information or did not disclose information during the hiring process for his employment with the Coral Springs Police Department.

“He (Tony) provided false information or did not disclose information during the appointment process for his service as Broward County Sheriff; when completing a notarized Form 68 submitted to Florida Department of Law Enforcement while serving as Broward County Sheriff; and when applying to renew his driver’s license while serving as a law enforcement officer,” officials wrote in their report.

Tony was a no-show at Wednesday night’s Pembroke Park town commission meeting, where he had been invited to discuss the city’s contract with BSO.

“With his troubles that have come out in the media today, I understand why he’s not here,” said Pembroke Park Mayor Geoffrey Jacobs.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had confirmed in February that it would be sending the results of its investigation to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The recently concluded state investigation found that Tony repeatedly concealed details about his past on forms for law enforcement jobs — including his arrest pertaining to a killing as a teen — a case in which he was acquitted and which he said was an act of self-defense.

Local 10 News spoke with Glen Hopkins, the Bureau Chief of Standards of FDLE, to find out what the next step in the process is for the sheriff.

According to Hopkins, “We’ll issue an administrative complaint along with an election of rights form he will need to return to us to elect how he wishes to proceed in this case.”

“He can either opt for an informal hearing, which would go before the 19-member commission just to offer any mitigating statement to the commission,” said Hopkins. “If he has issues involving disputed facts with the case, he could opt to go in front of an administrative law judge in the form of a formal hearing.”

According to authorities, last week, at a closed-door meeting, the commission found the probable cause but rejected part of the advocate’s recommendations.

Tony and his attorney were allowed to attend and make a presentation, but whether he did that is not known.

The nine-member commission made its decision by a majority vote of those members present.

According to a press release, if the ethics commission believes a violation of the law may have occurred, it may decide to hold a public hearing.

“If it concludes a violation has been committed, it may recommend civil penalties including removal from office or employment and fines up to $10,000 per violation,” said the press release.

Tony’s attorney released the following statement Wednesday on his behalf:

The Florida Commission on Ethics Advocate’s report clearly outlined that no violation had occurred and recommended the Commission find no probable cause The Commission’s disregard of its own advocate’s findings and recommendation is unprecedented.

While disappointed in the Commission’s action, my client looks forward to a swift finding of innocence.

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