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Florida mayor resigns with mass email to residents alleging corruption in small-town government

A Florida mayor abruptly resigned last Friday after outlining a pattern of “corrupt behavior” throughout his small town’s government in a shocking letter sent to all residents.

“What’s going on in this little town is just wrong,” said former Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek. He told Fox 13 “I am sad to have to step down. It’s for my health. Please keep fighting. I am always on your side. Please continue to do the right thing,” she posted on Wednesday.

According to the June 14 letter, reviewed by Fox News Digital, Rostec’s complaint points to Mayor Robin Ignacio Gomez and his “discretionary” and “discriminatory” enforcement of the rules.

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Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek resigned on June 14 and sent a letter to all community members denouncing “corrupt practices” in the city government. (Fox 13 Tampa)

“I am sorry to be stepping down, but as Mayor, I cannot be complicit in Gomez’s corrupt behavior, his roundabout language, his lies, his preferential treatment of some, his discriminatory enforcement practices, or in his daily waste of taxpayer money and his attempts to justify it,” Rostek wrote. “At the end of the day, some people get to heaven and some don’t. I will always do what is ethical and right, but some people don’t.”

The outgoing mayor alleged that Gomez had ignored Rostec’s requests to institute life jacket regulations, smoking regulations and a formal ban on cellphone use for city employees operating city boats and vehicles.

“I had residents take pictures of the code enforcement boats, and there are people on board without life jackets, going about their duties,” Rostek added. “Smoking regulations… I’ve seen one or two people smoking in city vehicles. There is a federal law on this subject. He refuses to enforce the regulations.”

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Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as an ethics and safety stricturist and said his fight against allegations of mismanagement led to recurrent health problems.

Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek described himself as an ethics and safety stricturist and said his fight against allegations of mismanagement led to recurrent health problems. (Google Maps)

Rostec complained that he saw city sanitation workers holding onto the back of their trucks with one hand and typing texts with the other.

“[Gomez is very well-liked by employees because, in my mind, it’s ‘Camp Run Amok,'” he said. “We’re supposed to set an example for the public.”

Rostek also alleges that his former colleagues practiced technically-legal but unethical financial techniques. They avoided commission approval on projects totaling over $30,000 by negotiating multiple line-item contracts at lesser amounts instead of issuing a Request for Proposals, he claims.

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Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner in Madeira Beach, replaced Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek after his resignation.

Anne-Marie Brooks, a former District 4 commissioner in Madeira Beach, replaced Madeira Beach Mayor Jim Rostek after his resignation. (Fox 13 Tampa)

Attached to the June 14 email was a separation agreement between Gomez and the city of Clarkston, Georgia. The document, dated Sept. 7, 2021, outlines Gomez’s voluntary resignation as city manager there and states that he and city officials cannot discuss his career there with other parties. 

Rostek explained to Fox 13 that he is a stickler for ethics, safety and the city’s liability, and that his stress in contending with his former colleagues resulted in multiple health scares. 

“I told him, ‘talk is cheap,'” Rostek said. “I said, ‘you need to have policy to back up what you’ve told them, because when it comes time for a lawsuit, we’re not going to have any ammunition to substantiate,’” he told the outlet. “If you don’t get the small things right, what about the big things?”

“God only knows what else is going on,” he continued. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you start looking and digging deeper.”

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In an email to Fox 13, Gomez denied Rostek’s assertions. 

“While entitled to his opinions, the city has provided answers and resolutions to the comments although not completely supported/agreed/understood by Mr. Rostek,” Gomez wrote. “It is unfortunate that the disagreements and misunderstandings of city processes and policies by Mr. Rostek led him to state/list claims of corruption, which are simply baseless and false.”

“We continue to perform our daily tasks and responsibilities pursuant to federal, state, county and city laws/ordinances/statutes in the most ethical manner,” he continued.

Anne-Marie Brooks, previously a city commissioner, has stepped up as Madeira Beach’s mayor in Rostek’s absence. 

Gomez wrote that city administrators would hold a special meeting to fill her now-vacant seat on the commission next week. 

Commissioners just voted to restore Gomez’s contract until 2028, according to TBN Weekly. 

Meanwhile, Rostek told Fox 13 that he hopes “someone at the state level makes contact with [him]”About allegations of corruption in a small town.”

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