Gov. Rick Scott on Friday suspended Margate City Commissioner David McLean, who is facing federal bribery charges.
In an executive order, Scott wrote that it "is in the best interests of the residents of the city of Margate, and the citizens of the state of Florida, that David McLean be immediately suspended from the public office which he now holds."
Scott acted two days after McLean surrendered to the FBI, appeared in federal court — in handcuffs and shackles — and pleaded not guilty to the charges in a three-count bribery indictment.
McLean was released on $50,000 bond on Wednesday, but he didn't show up for the commission meeting that night, Mayor Frank Talerico said.
The remaining four city commissioners will now pick a replacement for McLean, Talerico said. He said he'd seek guidance about procedures from the city attorney, but expected some discussion at the commission's next meeting.
Within a day of the news breaking, the mayor said, he received "a couple of calls" from people who want to replace McLean. He declined to identify them, saying: "I don't want to turn it into a circus with these people."
As for anything else related to the case, Talerico said, "We can't speculate. We're not really supposed to say anything."
Talerico said the appointed replacement would serve until the next election, when voters would select a permanent replacement. If commissioners can't agree on appointing a replacement, the city charter says a special election would be held.
If the charges don't stick, the commissioner gets to return to office, as happened with Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco and Tamarac Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad.
According to the indictment of McLean, he helped a shopping center owner — identified as "cooperating witness #1" — obtain an occupational license from the city. The indictment said the center owner had previously "experienced a number of adverse contacts with members of the Margate city government."
It's the same shopping center where McLean operated a business, Dave's Tiki Bar. In 2010, the indictment alleges, McLean agreed to help with the occupational license and to help the center owner have a $2,400 lien released.
The indictment said McLean took the center owner to City Hall to meet with officials, and then accepted $1,000 cash and a release for $8,000 in back rent he owed on the bar.
The indictment also alleges that McLean suggested using his position as head of the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency board to help the center owner — and himself.
He suggested using a CRA program that's supposed to pay 50 percent of improvement costs, but have the whole project paid for by finding a contractor to provide an inflated estimate. Any amount left over after the project was paid would be split between McLean and the shopping center owner, according to the indictment.
McLean allegedly filled out a CRA project application with an inflated estimate and then instructed the cooperating witness to "redo the application in CW-1's own handwriting so that Margate city officials would not recognize the handwriting."
McLean allegedly received a $3,000 payment and a $2,000 payment, representing his share of the extra money from the CRA grant.
Read the federal indictment and the governor's suspension order at SunSentinel.com/BrowardPolitics
email@example.com, 954-356-4550Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times