Yeager cleared of ethics complaint

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM.

The Florida Commission on Ethics last week dismissed for lack of probable cause a complaint filed against County Commissioner Warren Yeager.

The complaint, filed by Wewahitchka resident Thomas Semmes on behalf of the Political Action Committee “Citizens for Improving Gulf County”, alleged that Yeager was in violation of several Florida statutes pertaining to conflicts of interest, given his elected office and full-time private sector employer Preble Rish Engineers.

The Commission on Ethics, however, found “no probable cause to believe that (Yeager) had a conflicting employment relationship with an entity doing business with Gulf County.”

Based on testimony from Yeager’s boss at Preble Rish, Ralph Rish, to investigators, Yeager’s role is to nurture relationships between Preble Rish and public and private entities and to supervise the company’s real estate holdings.

Rish told investigators that Yeager does that work “on the road” and not in Gulf County and therefore there was no violation under the statute the complaint was based upon.

The Florida Commission on Ethics held a closed door hearing on the complaint last week, during which commissioners agreed there was no probable cause to support the complaint.

Yeager, who said at the time the complaint was filed last year that he believed his interpretation of the issues would prevail, expressed pleasure about the Ethics Commission decision.

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