CEO 76-45 -- March 16, 1976
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
CITY COMMISSIONER GIVING SATISFACTION OF MORTGAGE TO REALTY TO BE SOLD TO THE CITY
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Florida Statute s. 112.313(7)(1975) prohibits a public officer from holding a contractual relationship with any business entity which is doing business with his public agency. A city commissioner is therefore prohibited from holding a mortgage on property to be sold to the city. Where such commissioner supplies a satisfaction of mortgage on the subject property, however, the potential conflict is resolved and the property is released for subsequent sale to the city.
Would a prohibited conflict of interest be created were I, a city commissioner, to supply a satisfaction of mortgage on certain property that is to be sold to the city?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Your letter of inquiry advises us that, prior to qualifying for election to the city commission, you sold 28 lots to a developer, taking a mortgage for $28,000. As mortgagee, you agreed to release each lot from the mortgage upon the payment of $2,000 each. At present all but ten of the lots have been released accordingly. The developer now desires to satisfy the mortgage on the remaining lots in order to sell the property to the city.
The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees provides in relevant part:
CONFLICTING EMPLOYMENT OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIP. --
(a) No public officer or employee of an agency shall have or hold any employment or contractual relationship with any business entity or any agency which is subject to the regulation of, or is doing business with, an agency of which he is an officer or employee . . . ; nor shall an officer or employee of an agency have or hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the performance of his public duties or that would impede the full and faithful discharge of his public duties. [Emphasis supplied; Fla. Stat. s. 112.313(7)(1975).]
The above-quoted provision prohibits a public officer from having a contractual relationship with a business entity which is doing business with his public agency. Accordingly, you would be prohibited by this section from holding the mortgage on property sold to the city. Your supplying a satisfaction of mortgage on the subject property, rather than creating a conflict of interest, would, in fact, release the property for subsequent sale to the city. Once you divest yourself of any interest in the property via the supplying of a satisfaction of mortgage, no potential for conflict on your part exists in the city's purchasing of said property.