Suwannee Democrat


June 13, 2014

Ethics hearing for Live Oak councilman slated for Monday

At question is whether councilman used his position to help sibling during TS Debby

Live Oak —

The president of the Live Oak City Council will appear before an administrative law judge in the Suwannee County Courthouse Monday to face allegations that he violated Florida Statutes by using his position as councilman for the personal gain of his sister. 

The State of Florida Commission on Ethics (COE) determined in a 4-2 vote in March that there was probable cause to believe Adam Prins misused his position as a council member by directing the Live Oak fire chief to perform duties at the apartment of Prins’ sister during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, according to the COE. A total of nine allegations were brought against Prins, however, eight of them were found to have no probable cause. 

Commission on Ethics’ view

According to the COE, during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, Live Oak Fire Chief Chad Croft and Prins were at the city’s Emergency Operations Center, located at the city fire department. Prins reportedly directed Croft to transport him to the residential area known as Tara Trace in Croft’s city-owned fire department vehicle. Croft recalled Prins telling him that flooding was reported at that apartment complex.

Documents further state that upon their arrival Prins directed Croft into a particular apartment where he was then directed to assist with moving boxes for approximately 20 minutes. After Croft stopped due to reported shoulder pain, Prins informed him they were in an apartment belonging to Deborah Prins, his sister. With this discovery, Croft reportedly immediately left the apartment and returned to the fire department. Croft did not provide assistance to any other Tara Trace residents or provide any other emergency services while acting at Prins’ discretion, according to documents. 

“The City Fire Department policies allow the removal or relocation of private property during emergency response events only when it is necessary to protect the lives and safety of the city residents and visitors,” the document states. “Chief Croft opined that the flooding at Tara Trace Apartments did not pose a threat to the life of Respondent’s (Prins) sister or other residents.”

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