Ethics complaints dropped against three Marco committee members

Florida commission on ethics dismisses conflict of interest complaints against electric municipalization committee members

File photo. 
Monte Lazarus, Jack Patterson and Gary Elliott, parteners in United Energy Technology, which proposed a solar plan with the Collier County School District on Tract K, were also members of the city's Ad Hoc Electric Municipalization Committee. Ethics complaints against the three filed by resident Bill McMullan in late January were dismissed by the Florida Commission on Ethics in March.

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff

File photo. Monte Lazarus, Jack Patterson and Gary Elliott, parteners in United Energy Technology, which proposed a solar plan with the Collier County School District on Tract K, were also members of the city's Ad Hoc Electric Municipalization Committee. Ethics complaints against the three filed by resident Bill McMullan in late January were dismissed by the Florida Commission on Ethics in March.

— Ethic complaints against three Marco individuals fizzled out along with the city’s look into taking over the Island’s electric utility.

The Florida Commission on Ethics released their findings Monday that complaints against Monte Lazarus, Jack Patterson and Gary Elliott, who are members of the city’s committee looking into taking over Lee County Electric Cooperative, were to be dismissed.

The complaints filed by Marco resident Bill McMullan in late January stemmed around letters of intent to do business between LCEC and the Marco-based solar firm, United Energy Technology.

UET’s CEO Gary Elliott, Vice President Monte Lazarus and Jack Patterson, all serve on the city’s committee studying a potential takeover of LCEC.

Lazarus said he hoped the risk of such complaints wouldn’t deter people from volunteering for city committees in the future.

“Even though we knew McMullan’s complaint had absolutely no substance, it was rewarding to have another of his complaints against dedicated Marco Islanders completely rejected by the State of Florida,” Elliott wrote in a commentary regarding the Commission’s decision to dismiss.

Lazarus and Patterson both said they think McMullan’s credibility is questionable because he has a history of filing complaints, including one from January 2008. That complaint was regarding elections and political activities against Celebrate Marco Inc., a group formed to counteract perceived negativity on Island. It was also later dismissed, they pointed out.

McMullan maintains there seemed to be a conflict of interest, adding that the electric committee’s February decision to disband may minimize those potential conflicts.

UET proposed solar power projects with the Collier County School District on Tract K, an approximate 12-acre piece of vacant land near Tigertail Court owned by the School District. Those plans have also been cancelled since the state chose not to grant funding to the project in a February decision.

Lazarus also serves on the city’s planning board, which is a point several residents once said concerned them in terms of a potential conflict of interest.

Community Development Director Steve Olmsted had said the planning board could potentially decide whether to grant conditional permits for the solar project on Tract K. Those points are becoming moot with the cancellation of the solar project plans and an at least temporary slow down in the city’s potential bid to takeover LCEC with the dissolution of their committee looking into the idea.

McMullan’s ethics complaints against Lazarus, Patterson and Elliott were based upon a perceived violation of three sections of Florida Statute. They include 112.313(7)(a), 112.3143(3)(a) and 112.3143(4).

These sections prohibit a committee member from having a contractual relationship with any business entity that is subject to the regulation of, or doing business with the city or its ad hoc committee.

Following an executive session in early March, the Florida Commission on Ethics concluded that there is no contractual relationship between UET and LCEC.

A Nov. 18, 2008 letter from Dennie Hamilton, CEO of LCEC, to Elliott, UET President and CEO was filed along with McMullan’s January complaint, which referred to the letter as an intent to do business.

Commission Chairwoman Cheryl Forchilli wrote in a March 11 public report that the language in the letter made it “clear that there is no contractual relationship” between UET and LCEC.

Furthermore, the commission’s report stated that in the complainant, McMullan, “failed to indicate the existence of any nexus between United Energy Technology and the City of Marco Island ... nor does the complaint suggest that UET would stand to gain or lose if the city were to take over LCEC’s operations.”

“I thought it could have been more inclusive,” McMullan commented Monday.

Supporting documents of McMullan’s initial complaint and the six page report from the Florida Commission on Ethics are in an upper left sidebar.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 18

Fossil writes:

The effort was worth it to me. Contractural arrangement or not, these three fellows have been exposed. They have been revealed to be no more then investors trying to make a buck off the taxpayer. Using public land to line their own pockets, where is the morality? Thanks for the file picture of these three. Now I can avoid doing any business with them. As a community we now have enough information to understand what this committee is really about. A committee filled and staffed to promote a local business venture.

lauralbi1 writes:

Dear fellow Citizens: We really must unite as a Community regarding one of our own. It should be very evident to all of us that based upon past behavior and current actions (including all the filings he has made that have been determined to have no basis in fact) that Mr. McMullan may not know the meaning of the word Ethics or he may not know what it is to behave and act within normal social behavior. I refuse to speculate, so I will, once again, present facts for those that care about Bill to find out about and, if you feel it is justified, to try to get him some help. First, research why the State of Florida revoked his Broker's License (anyone that thinks this is normal does not deserve the time of day). If you need a start on this, check the records of the Miami Grand Jury, Southwinds Condominiums (Marco) and Bank of Biscayne. This whole incident took place on Marco between 1983 and 1987. Good readings. Then you can research exactly what happened up in Kissimmee. Not just with the Commission, but with other activities related to Radio Stations, Bingo, and many other things. Talk to some of Bill's past friends and investors (Mr and Mrs Cushing among others) to get a feel for his Ethics and Morals. Talk to the past Commissioners up in Kissimmee also. Talk to reporters with the Orlando Sentinel that have been around for awhile. Then talk to the gentleman that owned Reflections Liquor Store, here on Marco. Or better yet, talk to now Chief Carr and ask about any offers of restitution in lieu of arrest as it might apply to our friend, Bill. Then take Bill over to Marco Office Supply, where he is not allowed to enter, and talk to the Manager or owner about the Ethics of our friend Bill and how he demonstrated these Ethics about 9 months ago.
After the research you can draw your own conclusions about whether or not Bill may need some help. His problems, if they exist, may be hereditary as we can complete our research with Marco Ace Hardware and find out about any instances that may have involved other McMullan family members.
This is not a time for sayings like "People that live in glass houses should not throw stones" no matter how appropriate. This is a time for those of you that claim to care to do the research, in depth, make your own conclusions, and then, if appropriate, to get our neighbor, Bill McMullan, the help that he may so genuinely need. The documnntation exists and is there for those that want the truth. Many of you have done this research on other people and issues when it benefitted you. Now it might benefit one of our own.
As I told another fellow Blogger, I have nothing against Bill personally, and I assume he feels the same way about me. But when I see a situation that I feel needs to be addressed, I want to identify this possibility.
Ed Issler

OldMarcoMan writes:

I'm reserving judgment till I hear from Wayne.

Fossil writes:

Issler you really are a gossip. We have done the research as you suggested and find that you misrepresent and exagerate your revelations. People who throw mud around usually soil themselves.

dc5799 writes:

I think you should seek help. As I see it this gossip that you harp on is putting you over the edge Get a life and call Wayne to compare your research.

ejburger writes:

It's about time the blind stop drinking McMullans Koolaid and see him for what he really is. How much proof does one need?

happy6 writes:

ed,ed,ed...drop mcmullen...every city needs a mcmullen...BUT every city needs to be rid of a-holes like you...the only good you do is...wait i can't figure it'll come to me soon i'm sure. so please ed, save us all from your crap...and tell monte the same.

lauralbi1 writes:

Yes, just as I figured. The bloggers that always come out of the woodwork are too lazy to help a friend. What a City needs is responsible, honest representation, both from the Public and from it's elected representatives.
We have a citizen that is choosing to disrupt civil dialogue, from both sides, that has a track record that appears to demonstrate that he may need help. I suggest that you all start by reading, in detail, the most recent decision rendered by the Committee on Bill's complaint. Either get on board and do the research and determine for yourself if he needs help, or stay out of the mix all together. But just don't blog lazy, meaningless comments. This is not about me. This is about Bill and his track record. Again, don't be lazy, read it all for yourself and deal with Bill, not my blog or me.
Ed Issler

marcoislandres writes:


I think it may be you who needs help, every time Bill McMullan has something to say you go on your usual rant and rave about his past, you are obsessed with him like a stalker.
I don't know Bill McMullan but I don't think we would have know how bad the sewer spill at landmark waterway was unless he made the documents he had public. So I think he is doing a good job of keeping the City honest.

matt#206381 writes:

McMullan sounds like an angry man who has too much time on his hands.

And I have the right to blog lazy, meaningless comments as much as I want.

Ed, good approach, but it ain't gonna fly.

liberator100 writes:

Fossil: As usual; you must be just back from shining Mcmullan's shoes. What else do you do for him?

dc5799: You would not know the truth if it hit you between the eyes! Every word, every sentence written by Ed is correct, provable and documented. Why are you so afraid of hearing the truth? If what Ed wrote is not true; Mcmullan will challenge Ed.we shall see.

shadow: Primitive people like you resort to name calling, foot stomping and acting like wild animals when they can not express their feelings. Maybe you should try barking? Biting? Growling? You are dead wrong! No City needs a Mcmullan. City of Kissimmee sure did not need him!

marcoislandres: Wait until you see the documents before you idolize Mcmullan. Sewer spills may be the least of his problems.

matt: Let the facts come out and let the public decide what flies and what walks.

Fossil writes:

Mr. Issler, I'm not convinced you can read. liberator100, you shouldn't stand too close to Issler while he is slinging his cr__, you might get some on your shoes. Matt, Marco Island has more than it's share of angry men with too much time on their hands. Issler is one too. Mr. McMullin performs a valuable service to the Residents of Marco Island.

happy6 writes:

hey's you again..the defender of are right up there with ed and monte...whining crybabies that have no regard for anything or anyone's opinion other than the crap you spew....and i stand by my opinion...every city needs a mcmullen..and a faye biles..and others who question the antics of a council that stays two inches ahead of the hounds all the me.

liberator100 writes:

shadow: do you have something against ed and monte? maybe you should listen to them more often; you may learn something. On the other hand that may be asking too much from you! You have no opinions; you are a puppet. Do you want to live in a city that needs Mcmullan? Why don't you try moving to Kissimmee and see what they think? They had him for a while.
It is FAY Biles you moron; and not FAYE! It would be nice if you just knew what and whom you were talking about. If you don't like it down here; move on. We the citizens elected the City Council and WE are the majority. And as long as we are the majority; you will remain to be what you are; a shadow.
I asked my dog to go and bite you but he refused. I don't blame him.

dc5799 writes:

Looks like the cave dwellers versus the sewer rats. Liberator, you are using Ed's famous line, THE MAJORITY

playballonK writes:

How long are the citizens of marco going to put up with a handful of 'oppurtunist' that want nothing more than to line their pockets with $$$ and turn Marco into Miami?
Kudos to all the bloggers that fight back.

liberator100 writes:

playballonK: Are you a member of the Marco Island Communist Party? Or are you just a plain old moron like the rest of your friends?
What is an "oppurtunist" anyway? Is it something like an "opportunist" or someone who "tunes" an "oppur" for a living?

dc6799: Does Ed have a Trade Mark on the word MAJORITY? Or are you assuming I am also Ed? Get a life or a job or both!

smiley writes:

liberator: You may have won the sixth grade spelling bee but your literary content leaves much to be desired.

You sound like Pelosi and Reid--"WE ARE THE MAJORITY, SO LET THEM EAT CAKE"

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