A state inquiry into Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott will determine if a complaint made by ex-employees should prompt a criminal investigation into the sheriff.
The nature of the complaint, as well as the names of the complainants, are confidential, said Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Kristen Perezluha.
"We're just looking to find out if we need to do a full investigation," she said.
The agency opened the preliminary investigation after receiving a complaint from several ex-employees in May. The Tallahassee-based Office of Executive Investigations is handling the inquiry, due to Scott's high profile.
The same office would handle a criminal investigation if one is deemed necessary, Perezluha said.
Findings from a criminal investigation would then go before the State Attorney's Office.
The recent revelation of a years-long friendship between Scott and a convicted felon with former ties to a Colombian cartel has raised questions of the man's influence inside the Sheriff's Office.
Scott has denied that the man, Richard Spence, a convenience store owner in Alva, had any sway in his agency.
Earlier this year, a restructuring of the Sheriff's Office saw several employees part ways with the agency.
Scott, in a prepared statement, said the investigation would work to his advantage.
“I am thankful for the inquiry into these false accusations, and I am supremely confident that the independent and unbiased review of the facts will eliminate the agenda driven cloud of suspicion.”