Governor Reviews North Bay Village Commissioner Controversy - NBC 6 South Florida
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Governor Reviews North Bay Village Commissioner Controversy

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    Governor Reviews North Bay Village Commissioner Controversy

    Governor Rick Scott's office confirms it is now reviewing the case of North Bay Village Commissioner Dr. Douglas Hornsby.

    (Published Monday, Nov. 20, 2017)

    Governor Rick Scott's office confirms it is now reviewing the case of North Bay Village Commissioner Dr. Douglas Hornsby. 

    An NBC 6 Investigation revealed Hornsby twice didn’t mark on his voter registration form he had a felony drug conviction.

    He was removed from the voter list in July. In a letter, the head of Miami-Dade Elections told him he's been ineligible to vote since registering in 1998. In late July, he registered again and is now an eligible voter.

    The reason this is an issue for him serving as a North Bay Village Commissioner is because the Village requires Commissioners to be registered voters.

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    Hornsby, who refused to answer NBC 6's questions about his eligibility, told the commission he’s the victim of blackmail and extortion attempts over his past. FDLE is investigating those claims, but won't comment on the ongoing investigation.

    In a statement, the governor's spokesperson wrote, "Our office is reviewing this specific situation. Governor Scott expects all elected officials to act ethically.”

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    The governor can decide if someone should be removed from office. Other scenarios that could lead to Hornsby being removed include the commission voting him off or if he's charged with a felony.

    This controversy has divided the commission. 

    Last week, the commission voted to fire attorney Robert Switkes. On his way out, he told Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps she was the target of the police investigation into the blackmail allegations.

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    “I have been authorized by the criminal authorities investigating the criminal behavior and extortion and blackmail of Commissioner Hornsby that you are a subject of interest and have been identified as such,” Switkes said in the meeting after his position was terminated.

    Kreps said she was stunned and that his claims are without merit.

    Switkes also gave Commissioner Jose Alvarez a warning too.

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    "Commissioner Alvarez you have a potential conflict of interest as well in that your wife has been identified as a person of interest in that criminal investigation," Switkes said.

    Alvarez says he denies involvement.

    Switkes along with Hornsby and Village Manager Frank Rollason are being sued by five residents.  The residents allege there was a conspiracy to conceal Hornsby’s ineligibility. 

    One person suing them is resident Laura Cattibriga.

    "There has been a cloud of scandal hanging over North Bay Village for too long,” she stated.

    She and the others are being represented by attorney, J.C. Planas.

    "It’s a violation of the Miami Dade County Citizens Bill of Rights to have their elected officials and their appointed officials, especially their appointed officials, especially the staff members of the government, lie to the public in that manner,” Planas said.

    Switkes denies any wrongdoing and Rollason says he can’t comment.

    “Until we can lift that cloud and get integrity, clarity, and truth, this Village will never be able to move forward," Cattibriga said.

    The interim Village Attorney, Norman Powell, is just days into his job. He says he's looking into the circumstances and told us it’s his intention to have complete transparency and work with the Commissioners and staff to restore confidence in North Bay Village Hall.

    Government law experts say Governor Scott has the power to suspend local leaders but that has generally happened when there has been an arrest.

    Meantime, another North Bay Village Commissioner has had an ethics ruling against him. The Miami-Dade Ethics Commission says Vice Mayor Eddie Lim "violated...provisions of the Conflict of Interest" rules by representing his condo association when the building had been fined $40,000.

    Ethics rules prohibit elected officials from doing that.

    Lim told NBC 6 in a text message that it "didn’t occur to me at the time."

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