Sheriff Tony faces more scrutiny after ethics panel finds probable cause in second complaint

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony is once again under the microscope.

For the second time, the Florida Commission on Ethics “found probable cause to believe Broward County Sheriff Greg Tony misused his public position when he provided false information or did not disclose information during the appointment process for his service as Broward County Sheriff.”

Specifically, they point to a time when Tony completed a notarized form he submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement while serving as sheriff and when he applied to renew his driver’s license while serving as a law enforcement officer.

Dec. 7 probable cause finding:

The first hearing, in September, found Tony “misused his public position” when he “lied” to get a job at the Coral Springs Police Department.

That hearing arose from a referral by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The latest hearing arose from a citizen complaint.

Citizen complaint:

In the past, the ethics commission highlighted the sheriff’s choice not to disclose a deadly shooting he was involved in three decades ago.

In past interviews with Local 10 News, Tony maintained the shooting was in self-defense.

“There was no crime. There was no arrest,” he said at the time. “Nor is there any element on an application that says I should be bring this up.”

Tony’s attorney said the commission should have listened to its advocate’s report, which said no violations occurred.

Advocate’s report:

“The Commission’s disregard of its own advocate’s findings and recommendation is unprecedented. While disappointed in the Commission’s action, my client looks forward to a swift finding of innocence,” Louis J. Baptiste, Tony’s attorney, said in a statement.

Ben Wilcox, the research director at nonpartisan government watchdog Integrity Florida, said the allegations are “serious.”

He said they merit some sort of response from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“It’s more perplexing why the govenor hasn’t taken action,” Wilcox said.

The governor’s office had not responded to Local 10 News’ request for comment as of Wednesday evening.

The ethics panel still has to make a final ruling on Tony’s case.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.