Miramar commissioner accused of inappropriate conduct with 3 women

Commissioner Maxwell Chambers denies allegations, including retaliation

By Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

MIRAMAR, Fla. - A Miramar city commissioner has been accused of inappropriate actions over the past two years by three city employees, some of whom say they then experienced retaliation.

Commissioner Maxwell Chambers told Local 10 News investigative reporter Amy Viteri the allegations are untrue and are part of an effort to remove him from office.

Each of the complaints outlined in city records allege inappropriate or harassing behavior.

"I just felt like I needed to say something to someone," said one former employee who asked not to be identified.

She filed a complaint in May 2016 alleging "rude and disrespectful behavior" by Chambers, who she said would often address her using profanity and call her at all hours of the night with minor requests.

One complaint described working 18 days straight, adding that Chambers told her "if that means I do not have a day off, then just consider it job security."

She also alleged strange, unprofessional behavior in the office.

"When he came in to the office one day, he had to change clothes," she said. "He went into his office. He came out of his office without a shirt on."

The woman said on one occasion Chambers crossed a line when the two were driving together after a city event.

"He asked me if he could touch my legs," she said, "Um, I told him, 'No,' and I got out the truck. It's uncomfortable. It's very uncomfortable."

Of the three women who filed complaints, Local 10 learned that two no longer work for the city. Chambers fired one of the women and the third woman to file a complaint was demoted just days later.

The woman who spoke with Viteri reported to city officials she was concerned Chambers would retaliate against her.

Ultimately, she submitted her resignation on May 5, 2016, offering to work through June. But days later, on May 11, paperwork showed Chambers moved to fire her, effective immediately. He told Viteri he fired her because she was not performing her job-related duties.

The woman, a single mother, said finding new employment with a termination on her record was difficult.

"You can't pay bills. You can't eat. You can't provide for your family," she explained.

A second complaint was filed in April of last year by a city staffer who witnessed Chambers greet a female colleague by saying, "What's up sexy?"

According to records the employee said she felt "bothered" by the statement. Her supervisor reported the incident. Documents show Chambers met with the then-city manager about the comment and stated, "I didn't mean anything. I was just saying hello."

The most recent complaint came in May of this year when an assistant city manager reported Chambers asked her for a hug on more than one occasion.

City records detailed the women's allegations.

Faye Munnings wrote: "He has done this before and he got upset because I told him that it (was) inappropriate. He appeared upset again today."

Her complaint outlined a similar "prior encounter regarding hugging and kissing."

Two weeks later, Munnings was demoted from her position as assistant city manager to a quality control officer and received a pay cut of more than $70,000.

After requesting interviews with Chambers, Viteri caught up with him outside Miramar's City Hall.

"Is there anything you want to say about these complaints?" Viteri asked.

"No, I don't want to say anything right now," Chambers replied.

When Viteri asked whether he felt there was anything inappropriate about the actions alleged by the three women, Chambers replied, "Not at all."

He also said none of the allegations were true.

"The woman that reported that thing, she's making that up," Chambers said regarding the second complaint.

As for the most recent complaint?

"That's not true," Chambers said.

He declined to stop and answer questions about specific complaints, but an hour after the exchange he agreed to an interview the next day.

He discussed the complaints individually and addressed the alleged retaliations. Look for that story on Local 10 News at 11 p.m. Thursday.

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.