More news about Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell and his conflicts of interest.
WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell on Monday abruptly quit a public panel that handles property tax appeals, avoiding a showdown with Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits - who said Newell's business ties to a marina seeking a tax break posed a clear conflict of interest.After this news from Sunday, Newell doesn't have much credibility in TFM's eyes. Back to the above article.
"Personally, I think that the county commission should decide if he should be on the Value Adjustment Board," Nikolits said Monday. "It's a question of his credibility."
Nikolitis was right. Newell's clear conflict of interest makes it improper that he'd have any vote in over whether the Yacht center gets a tax reduction. Why Newell doesn't see is....well Newell is either dumb(or a Knucklehead), arrogant because of his elected office, or a crook.
Six hours later, Newell had withdrawn. "I respectfully request that I be allowed to step down from the Value Adjustment Board to avoid any potential conflict of interest," he wrote to Commission Chairwoman Addie Greene.
Nikolits cited a report in Sunday's Palm Beach Post that Newell, a four-term commissioner, had failed to disclose his business association with Palm Beach Yacht Center when he voted to pay $14 million to keep the marina a working boatyard. While pushing the purchase, Newell docked his yacht at the marina, owed $35,900 in back dockage and maintenance fees and was starting a bank with one of the marina's owners.
The $14 million came from voter-approved bonds, an initiative to protect public access to the waterfront that was launched by Newell in 2004.
Until Monday, Newell was one of three county commissioners and two county school board members who sit on the Value Adjustment Board. As its chairman, Newell would have been required to sign any approval of a $340,000-a-year property tax reduction for Palm Beach Yacht Center, a break recommended by a special magistrate in December. Or, if he had declared a conflict, the vice chairman would have needed to sign.
Nikolits said it would have been improper for Newell to sign it. The appraiser also said he would file a court challenge to the yacht center's tax reduction - as soon as the adjustment board endorses it. He said the magistrate erred in setting the marina's tax value at $9.4 million and that it is worth more than double that figure.
Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer should immediately begin an investigation of Newell's commission work and his association with the yacht club. The public needs honest representation from the officials elected to office and Newell has to be proven clean or if not removed from office.
Incredibly, there's some who are trying to explain away Newell's behavior. From another Palm Beach Post story
.Note- The above story also noted several people's interest in Warren Newell's Commission seat if he was forced to resign or was removed from office. One person mentioned is my State Representative, Shelly Vana.
Commissioner Mary McCarty, a longtime friend, said she spoke briefly with Newell on Tuesday and described him as "very disheartened" by the marina controversy. She also said Newell, who underwent two surgeries in 2003 after suffering a perforated colon, voiced concern about the effects of stress on his health.
The perforated colon excuse for violating conflict of interest and ethics rules! How original. Some how I don't think a prosecutor or a jury grand or otherwise, are going to excuse Newell's actions because of that health reason. I had a pulmonary embolism in 2005 and almost died but I along with anyone fifth grade or above can see Newell's actions in regards to yacht center is a conflict of interest.
Resign Warren Newell. You're a disgrace to the people of Palm Beach County.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Dumb Ox, Pirate's Cove,