CEO 76-34 -- February 13, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
SON OF ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY SELLING PROPERTY TO COUNTY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
The Code of Ethics prohibits a public officer from acting in a private capacity to sell realty to his own agency. See Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(3)(1975). No violation exists, however, where property belonging to the son of an assistant county attorney is sold to the county, even though the subject property was formerly owned by a corporation in which the assistant county attorney is a majority stockholder.
Would any provision of part III, Ch. 112, F. S., be violated were a county to purchase two parcels of property which are owned by the adult son of a part- time assistant county attorney?
This question is answered in the negative.
You inform us in your letter of inquiry that the county owns an entire city block in the county seat with the exception of the two subject parcels of property. The county's property in this block consists of governmental office buildings, and the two additional parcels, contiguous to the county property, are needed for additional office facilities.
The two pieces of property in question were formerly owned by a corporation in which the subject part-time assistant county attorney is the majority stockholder. Recently, however, the corporation conveyed said parcels to the son of the subject stockholder/assistant county attorney.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in pertinent part:
DOING BUSINESS WITH ONE'S AGENCY. -- No employee of an agency acting in his official capacity as a purchasing agent or public officer acting in his official capacity, shall either directly or indirectly purchase, rent, or lease any realty, goods, or services for his own agency from any business entity of which he or his spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor or in which such officer or employee or his spouse or child, or any combination of the, has a material interest. Nor shall a public officer or employee, acting in a private capacity, rent, lease, or sell any realty, goods, or services to his own agency, if he is a state officer or employee, or to any political subdivision or any agency thereof, if he is serving as an officer or employee of that political subdivision. . . . [Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(3)(1975).]
As an assistant county attorney, the subject employee does not serve as a purchasing agent. Looking to the second sentence of the above-quoted provision, neither would he, personally, be acting in his private capacity to sell to the county, inasmuch as the property no longer belongs to the corporation of which he is the majority stockholder.
Accordingly, we find no violation of the Code of Ethics were the county to purchase the subject two parcels of property from the son of said assistant county attorney.