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Former council member faces fine for ethics violation

By Staff | Apr 17, 2010

The Florida Commission on Ethics supports a fine of $7,500 for a former Cape Coral City Council member who allegedly abused his official position.
In April 2009, the nine-member board determined that there was probable cause to believe Mickey Rosado used his public office for private gain. After a November hearing, an administrative law judge found Rosado guilty of the violation and recommended a public censure, a reprimand and the fine.
The board supported the recommended penalty at a meeting Friday.
“They adopted the recommended order that they were considering,” Kerrie Stillman, a spokeswoman for the Florida Commission on Ethics, said.
The order will be entered Wednesday.
“Then the commission sends the file to the Governor’s Office because it’s up to the governor to impose the penalty,” Stillman said.
Rosado has 30 days from the time the order is entered to file an appeal.
According to state documents, an ethics complaint was filed in 2007 that alleged Rosado used his position as a council member to delay the annexation process of a property for the benefit of people with whom he had a business relationship, and pushed for the city’s purchase of one property over another for his benefit or the benefit of the owner, whom he knew.
Rosado was cleared of both allegations.
The complaint also alleged that he obtained information about a property available for purchase in his official capacity, then used the information for his benefit or the benefit of a business. He reportedly used his influence to try to broker a sale of Steve Westphal’s car dealership to Maria Giraldo.
Rosado has admitted to receiving $20,000 from Giraldo for acting as a translator in her attempt to purchase the dealership, after hearing about the possible sale as a council member. He also argued that because others knew about the possible sale that he did not benefit from his position and that his work on the sale was separate from his work on city council.
The commission found probable cause behind the third charge.
Rosado pointed out Friday that he was cleared of two of the charges. He blamed the administrative judge’s finding of guilt for the third violation on the fact that he had pleaded guilty to criminal charges tied to the case.
In 2007, Rosado was indicted on a charge of acting as a real estate broker without a license, a third-degree felony, and subsequently suspended without pay by Gov. Charlie Crist. He eventually pleaded guilty to two lesser charges, misdemeanors, and was fined $11,000. He ran for his seat again, but lost.
Rosado added Friday that witnesses at the hearing testified that he had knowledge of the property prior to being a council member. He said the administrative judge and commission “completely ignored” the testimony.
“Witnesses testified that I had knowledge of the property prior to being an official,” he said. “The original complaint was that I used my official position for personal gain … the facts are that I did not use my office for personal gain.”
According to Rosado, the original charges were predicated on a lie.
“There’s so many bullets on this paper that are not factual,” he said, referring to the state documents. “From the beginning it was wrong.”
Rosado added that he only testified at the hearing to present his side.
“The only reason I went to the hearing was to have my piece spoken cause I never had that before,” he said.
Rosado believes that Crist will probably follow the recommendation of the commission on the penalty, and he is currently discussing whether to pursue an appeal with his family. There is a Mickey Rosado Defense Fund set up at Wachovia Bank for those interested in making a donation to his defense.