Suwannee Democrat


March 21, 2014

Ethics Commission: Probable cause found against Live Oak Councilman Adam Prins

Live Oak —

The State of Florida Commission on Ethics determined in a 4-2 vote there was probable cause to believe Live Oak City Council President Adam Prins misused his position as a council member, according to the COE. A total of nine allegations were brought against Prins, however, eight of them were found to have no probable cause.

“Mr. Prins has the right to a full evidentiary hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH),” said Kerrie Stillman, COE public information officer. “However, Mr. Prins could choose to try to reach a settlement agreement with the Commission Advocate, in lieu of further proceedings.” 

Stillman said if Prins is found in violation, a range of penalties found in section 112.317 of the Florida Statutes can be applied. 

“The most common penalty recommended by the Commission is a civil penalty of up to $10,000,” Stillman said.

The complaint

On July 19, 2013, the Commission on Ethics received a complaint from Live Oak Mayor Sonny Nobles against Prins, citing he has “been out of control the three years he has served in that position.” 

“Due to his actions, city government in general is in disarray and in turmoil,” Nobles said. “Mr. Prins’ obsession with power and control has clouded his rational being. He is consumed with the desire for power and control.”

In the complaint, Nobles said Prins’ interference with city government had escalated to a point he called a meeting with the city’s department heads, at their request he said, to discuss the matter.

The complaint, which contained multiple allegations, resulted in an investigation by the Commission on Ethics.

Probable cause found in allegation three

According to the COE, probable cause was found to believe that Prins misused his position as a council member to direct the Live Oak fire chief to help at Prins’ sister’s home during the flooding of Tropical Storm Debby. 

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